Saxl speaks of “many tentative and personal excrescences” (“The History of
Warburg’s Library,” 331). When Warburg fell ill in 1920 with a subsequent fouryear absence, the library was continued by Saxl and Gertrud Bing, the new and
later closest assistant. Despite the many helpers, according to Saxl, Warburg always
remained the boss: “everything had the character of a private book collection, where
the master of the house had to see it in person that the bills were paid in time,
that the bookbinder chose the right material, or that neither he nor the carpenter
delivering a new shelf over-charged” (Ibid., 329).
A noteworthy aside: Gertrud Bing was in charge of keeping a meticulous index of
names and keywords; evoking the library catalog of Borges’s fiction, Warburg even
kept an “index of un-indexed books.” See Diers, “Porträt aus Büchern,” 21.