Burr wrote his dissertation on Dietrich Flade (1534-89), rector of the University of Trier and chief judge of the electoral court in that city. Between 1581 and 1593, more than 350 people were strangled and their bodies burned on the charge of sorcery in the diocese of Trier. The witch trials were opposed by Flade who, as a result, was arrested, tortured, strangled, and immolated. This “most eminent of the German victims of the persecution” became an icon for both White and Burr: A scholar who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of reason and in opposition to superstition.
After Germany, Burr traveled to Italy, where he visited many monuments and libraries. He also attended several lectures in Italian universities:
“Thursday, 21 Mai. Bologna. Old books all day… Then [sic] at University in Latin class – room full, freshmen, sophomores, juniors. Class recited – Latin prose + Horace’s Satires (beginning of sixth). No notetaking! No translation into Italian (had been to Univ. in morning + bought catalogue – 3 francs.) Bring home books from Ramazzotti’s [book-store] + catalogue all evening till 3a.m.”
Notiz-kalendar für 1885
Cornell University Library, Division of Rare Books and Manuscripts,
George Lincoln Burr Papers, 14-17-22