About the Alport Collection

The Alport Collection

Erich Alport bequeathed his collection of books to Univ Library in 1971. This rich and representative English literary collection was built by Alport’s lifelong interest in the arts. His friends, including Stephen Spender, Paul Bowles and W.H. Auden, gave him copies of their work. His interest in art and design led to his acquistion of private press material and illustrated works. His taste was broad so that drama, prose and poetry are all represented. A small collection of letters and ephemera found inside the books accompanies the collection and is now kept in the College Archives.

Erich Alport

Dr. Erich Adolph Alport was born in Posen, Germany. He went to the University of Heidelberg, before matriculating at University College in 1926. He chose to become British and settled in England, bringing his mother, Valerie out of Germany in the 1937. His mother was a well known art collector and they made a place for themselves in London’s artistic circles.

He was a member of Chatham House and travelled widely. He was curious about anthropology and in later life he made a speciality of the Berber tribes of North Africa. An obituary in The Times produced in the University College Record 1972 remembered him as

a lover of the arts, his taste in music, literature, painting and sculpture being as fastidious as his choice of friends.

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