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Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V02, Page 629 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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RITTER ALFRED ARNETH voN (1819-1897), Austrian historian, born at Vienna on the loth of July 1819, was the son of Joseph Calasanza von Arneth (1791-1863), a well-known historian and archaeologist, who wrote a history of the Austrian empire (Vienna, 1827) and several works on numismatics. Alfred Arneth studied law, and became an official of the Austrian state archives, of which in 1868 he was appointed keeper. He was a moderate liberal in politics and a supporter of the ideal of German unity. As such he was elected to the Frankfort pariian7ent in 1848. In 1861 he became a member of the Lower Austrian diet and in 1869 was nominated to the Upper House of the Austrian Reichsrath. In 1879 he was appointed president of the Kaiserliche Akademie der Wissenschaften (Academy of Sciences) at Vienna, and in 1896 succeeded von Sybel as chairman of the historical commission at Munich. He died on the 3oth of July 1897. Arneth was an indefatigable worker, and, as director of the archives, his broad-minded willingness to listen to the advice of experts, as well as his own sound sense, did much to promote the more scientific treatment and use of public records in most of the archives of Europe. His scientific temper and the special facilities which he enjoyed for drawing from original sources give to his numerous historical works a very special value. Among his publications may be mentioned: Leben des Feldmarschalls Grafen Guido Starhemberg (Vienna, x863); Prinz Eugen von Savoyen (3 vols., ib. 1864); Gesch. der Maria Theresa (to vols., ib. 1863–1879) ; Maria Theresa u. Marie Antoinette, ihr Briefwechsel (ib. 1866) ; Marie Antoinette, Joseph II. and Leopold II., ihr Briefwechsel (1866) ; Maria Theresa and Joseph II., ihre Korrespondenz samt Briefen Josephs an semen Bruder Leopold (3 vols., 1867) ; Beaumarchais and Sonnenfels (1868); Joseph II. and Katharina von Russland, ihr Briefwechsel (1869); Johann Christian Barthenstein and seine Zeit (1871); Joseph II. and Leopold von Toskana, ihr Briefwechsel (2 vols., 1872) ; Briefe der Kaiserin Maria Theresa an ihre Kinder and Freunde (4 vols., 1881); Marie Antoinette: Correspondance secrete entre Marie-Therese et le comte de Mercy-Argenteau (3 vols., Paris, 1875), in collaboration with Auguste Geffroy; Graf Philipp Cobenzl and seine Memoiren (1885) ; Correspondance secrete du comte de Mercy-Argenteau avec l'empereur Joseph IL et Kaunitz (2 vols., 1889–1891), in collaboration with Jules Flammermont; Anton Ritter von Schmerling. Episoden aus seinem Leben 1835, 1848–1849 (1895); Johann Freiherr von Wessenberg, ein bslerreichischer Staatsmann des 1g. Jahrh. (2 vols., 1898). Arneth also published in 1893 two volumes of early reminiscences under the title of Aus meinem Leben.

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