Herbert Lüthy was a Swiss historian and author. He belongs with Carl Jacob Burckhardt, Jean Rudolf von Salis and Karl Schmid to the prominent personalities of intellectual life in the German speaking part of Switzerland in the second half of the twentieth century.
Lüthy was born in 1918 in Basel, the fifth son of the India-missionary Ernst Lüthy-Dettwyler. He studied history, Romance languages and French literature in Paris, Zurich and Geneva. He obtained his doctoral degree in 1942 with Hans Nabholz in Zurich. After that Lüthy published widely in economic history and in journalism. From 1946 to 1958 he worked as an independent publicist and historian in Paris. After his habilitation in 1958 he was named Professor for General and Swiss History in German Language at the Swiss Institute of Technology in Zurich. In 1971 he continued as a professor at the University of Basel, where he was active until he was emerited in 1980. Afterwards among others he was a member of the board of the association editing Schweizer Monatshefte (Swiss Monthly) in which, since the sixties, he had published various essays including “Die Schweiz als Antithese” (Switzerland as antithesis) in 1961. Lüthy was honored many times for his eminent achievements. He died in Basel in November 2002.
From 1942 to 1944 Lüthy, among others, wrote the weekly chronicle of World War II for the “St. Galler Tagblatt.” In his years in Paris he was the correspondent of the newspaper “Tat” twice in a year; since 1949 he wrote more and more for international publications (“Der Monat”, Berlin, “Preuves”, Paris, “Encounter”, London, “Commentary”, New York and others). In 1954 he published the book Frankreichs Uhren gehen anders (The watches of France tick differently), which became the most important foreign-written publication in post-World War II France. He was well known in German cultural life for his translations of a selection of essays by Michel de Montaigne (1953). During 1959 and 1969 his two volumes, Banking and in History of Banking and Finance La Banque Protestante en France de la Révocation de l’Edit de Nantes à la Révolution (1685-1794) were published, and became a book of reference.
His written work was edited, introduced and commented in seven volumes.
Litertature on Herbert Lüthy see: http://www.herberthluethy.ch