ARNETH, ALFRED, Ritter von (1819-1897), Austrian historian, born at Vienna on the both 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 parliament 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 Münich. He died on the 30th 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 Feld-marschalls Grafen Guido Starhemberg (Vienna, 1863); Prinz Eueen von Savoyen (3 vols., ib. 1864); Gesch. der Maria Theresa (10 vols., ib. 1863-1879); Maria Theresa u. Marie Antoinette, ihr Briefwechsel (ib. 1866); Marie Antoinette, Joseph II. und Leopold II., ihr Briefwechsel (1866); Maria Theresa und Joseph II., ihre Korrespondenz samt Briefen Josephs an seinen Bruder Leopold (3 vols., 1867); Beaumarchais und Sonnenfels (1868); Joseph II. und Katharina von Russland, ihr Briefwechsel (1869); Johann Christian Barthenstein und seine Zeit (1871); Joseph II. und Leopold von Toskana, ihr Briefwechsel (2 vols., 1872); Briefe der Kaiserin Maria Theresa an ihre Kinder und Freunde (4 vols., 1881); Marie Antoinette: Correspondance secrète entre Marie-Thérèse et le comte de Mercy-Argenteau (3 vols., Paris, 1875), in collaboration with Auguste Geffroy; Graf Philipp Cobenzl und seine Memoiren (1885); Correspondance secrete du comte de Mercy-Argenteau avec l'empereur Joseph II. 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 österreichischer Staatsmann des 19. Jahrh. (2 vols., 1898). Arneth also published in 1893 two volumes of early reminiscences under the title of Aus meinem Leben.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)