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Archive of the antiquarian bookseller A. Rosenthal Ltd. and the personal archive of Albi Rosenthal (1914-2004)


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The archival material of the Rosenthal collection is divided into two parts. The first part consists of bound, interleaved and annotated sales catalogues of the A. Rosenthal Ltd. antiquarian bookselling business (nos. 1-87, 1939-1984), together with another set of clean copies. There is much material representing research into the lives and work of individual composers, writers and artists as well as photographs of the sale items. Printing blocks for catalogue illustrations and signage for the antiquarian bookshop also form part of the archive. The running of the business is evidenced in the administrative and financial papers. Some material relating to the Otto Haas music antiquarian bookseller is also present, but the main significant portion of this particular archive is to be found at the British Library.

The second part of the archive is devoted to Albi Rosenthal and his interests, especially those relating to music. Family papers and photographs are also present. Extensive correspondence links the two parts as many business partners were also close family friends


  • Creation: 1652-2019, n.d.


10.0 Linear metres (119 boxes)

Language of Materials

  • English
  • German

Conditions Governing Access

Some material is closed.

Preferred Citation

Oxford, Bodleian Libraries, [followed by shelfmark, e.g. MS. 12480/1]

Please see our help page for further guidance on citing archives and manuscripts.

Full range of shelfmarks

MSS. 12480/1-106, MSS. 12480 Photogr. 1-5, JL 1015-1023

Collection ID (for staff)

CMD ID 12480


The archive of the antiquarian bookseller A. Rosenthal Ltd. comprising sale catalogues, research and administrative material, together with Albrecht (Albi) Rosenthal's personal archive, including extensive correspondence, 1652-2015, n.d.

Biographical / Historical

Albi Rosenthal was born on 5 Oct 1914 in Munich into a family of much-respected antiquarian booksellers, (paternal grandfather) Jacques and (father) Erwin Rosenthal and (maternal grandfather) Leo S. Olschki. In 1947 he married Maud Levy (1909-2007), daughter of Oscar Levy, a physician and scholarly editor of the complete works of Friedrich Nietzsche. After moving to Oxford, Albi became actively involved in the life of the city and the university. He was a violinist and president of the Oxford University Orchestra, a member of the Council of the Friends of Bodleian Library and founder of the Boars Hill Association. He also served as a trustee of the Paul Sacher Foundation in Basel, Beethoven-Haus in Bonn and the Nietzsche-Haus in Sils Maria. Albi Rosenthal was awarded an honorary MA by the University of Oxford in 1979.

A. Rosenthal Ltd. is an antiquarian bookshop founded in 1936 in London. After the premises in Curzon Street were bombed in 1940, Rosenthal moved his business to Oxford, first to the Turl and then to Broad Street. The A. Rosenthal firm specialises in books and manuscripts in a wide range of subjects, of which music, Spanish and Portuguese, Judaica and Hebraica form significant focal points of interest and activity.

In 1955 Albi and Maud Rosenthal acquired the Otto Haas music antiquarian business which evolved from Liepmannssohn & Dufour (1866-1872) and Leo Liepmannssohn, Berlin (1874-1935). The couple ran this and the Oxford antiquarian house until Albi's death in 2004. Since then, the Otto Haas firm continued under the direction of Maud and Julia Rosenthal in association with Ulrich Drüner. After Maud's death in 2007, Julia Rosenthal became the firm's sole proprietor with Colin Coleman and Ulrich Drüner its associates.

A detailed history of the firms can be found on the Otto Haas website. It was first published in the Otto Haas catalogue no. 40 in 2005 under the authorship of Oliver Neighbour.


The catalogue is divided into two parts. The first describes material of the A. Rosenthal Ltd. antiquarian bookselling business and the second Albi Rosenthal's personal archive. The two parts are linked by the correspondence which runs here in one sequence since many clients, dealers and colleagues were also Albi Rosenthal's personal friends.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Julia Rosenthal, Albi Rosenthal's daughter, 2015-2021.

Related Materials

Music scores from the Rosenthal's private collection, including first and rare editions of W.A. Mozart, are catalogued separately and available to order via SOLO. This collection was accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax, and allocated to the Bodleian Library, 2006.

Extensive collection of sale catalogues of antiquarian booksellers other than A. Rosenthal Ltd., together with individual publications of books and periodicals will be catalogued separately and available to order via SOLO in due course.

Separated Materials

Music manuscripts inscribed to Albi Rosenthal are catalogued separately: autograph Violin sonata by André Boucourechliev (MS. Mus. c. 813) and photocopy of autograph piano pieces by Robert-Alexander Bohnke (MS. Mus. b. 614).

It is envisaged that music recordings on vinyl records will be digitised and also made available in due course.

Concert programmes from this archive will be added to the Bodleian collection of concert programmes (Mus. 335 c. 8) with details entered into the online Concert Programmes Database.

Catalogue of the archive of the antiquarian bookseller A. Rosenthal Ltd. and the personal archive of Albi Rosenthal (1914-2004), 1652-2019, n.d.
Finding aid prepared by Margaret Czepiel
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom