In well-informed circles, Max Nettlau was known as the 'Herodotus of Anarchy', the first and greatest historian of the anarchist movement. The name of the International Institute of Social History (1935) very nearly was the 'Max Nettlau Institute'.
But Max Nettlau himself detested such honored accolades. Unlike the Wichtigmacher, he preferred the humble and marginal phenomena that are on the verge of disappearing. He wrote his PhD on Celtic languages, Welsh in particular, and as an amateur bird-watcher he thoroughly researched the species of the tiny siskin.
But most of all he collected documents on social history, preferably not the general surveys and monographs, but rather the handouts, pamphlets, bulletins, and papers from the social movements themselves. At the end of his life, Nettlau, with his enormous collection of archives and printed materials, brought the Institute into blossom.