Welcome toThe Rothschild Archive'swebsite

Sources for business history: catalogues of bank files

Sources for art history: Catalogue of the pictures of Alfred de Rothschild 1901

Sources for yachting history: Plans for Nathaniel von Rothschild's yacht Veglia 1905

Sources for natural history: Walter 2nd Lord Rothschild and his zebra carriage: c.1910

Sources for global financial history: Map of lines of the Brazil Railway Company: c.1920

Sources for business history: index cards to bank files

Sources for social history: Rothschild Hospital Paris: 1920s

Sources for business history: detail of a Rothschild bond coupon

Sources for architectural history: Halton House: 1890s

Sources for the history of travel: Lionel de Rothschild's tours of Spain: 1909

Sources for local history: Tring Park: c.1900

Sources for Royal history: shooting party with Edward Prince of Wales: 1893

Sources for political history: Lionel de Rothschild: first Jewish MP: 1858

Sources for sporting history: St Amant winner of the Derby: 1904

Sources for local history: gardeners at Aston Clinton: 1899

Sources for Rothschild family history: Lionel de Rothschild's yacht Rhodora: 1927

Sources for London history: entrance to New Court: 1965

Sources for design history: plans for Lionel de Rothschild's Rolls-Royce: 1930

Sources for business history: Rothschild gold bars produced by the Royal Mint Refinery: 1930s

Sources for business history: letters of August Belmont Rothschild Agent in New York: 1860s

Projects

This page previews recent and current projects of The Rothschild Archive and our partners. Many of these projects provide access to detailed and extensive resources and digitised original documents through microsites of The Rothschild Archive website. The Rothschild Genealogy, The Rothschild Family, The Guide to the Collections of The Rothschild Archive and The Rothschild Bibliography are freely accessible; access to all other Project microsites requires membership of The Rothschild Research Forum. Click the arrow to read more about each project.

Bonds Online

The Rothschild Archive holds the evidence of a banking history dating from the early 19th century, documenting the innovations and evolution of the business of international finance. The Rothschild Archive has begun a programme to digitise key documents concerning the loans business, beginning with all surviving prospectuses and most bond certificates.

The bond was one of the most important instruments to underpin this type of business. The bond, enshrining the contract between borrower and banker, was a valuable document: its holders were entitled to present attached coupons at prescribed intervals to receive interest on their investment, and present the bond itself for return of the principal on maturity.

The Rothschild Archive has significant holdings which document the Rothschild banks' involvement in bond issues. These include contracts, correspondence, ledgers recording purchases of bonds and the accounts for their repayment; and the prospectuses, scrip and bonds themselves.

The Archive has digitised key documents concerning the loans business. All surviving prospectuses and most bond certificates for loans issued by the London house are now available on the Rothschild Bonds microsite. A Rothschild Research Forum account is required to access this site. Apply for membership of the Rothschild Research Forum here.

'My Dear Cousins': writing the new century

Launched in November 2016, this project breaks new ground for The Rothschild Archive. Building on the 'Nathaniel 100' Transcription Project, the Archive is pleased to launch a new website dedicated to an in depth study of the business correspondence written by the 1st Lord Rothschild, unlocking an important new resource for researchers.

Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild ('Natty') (1840-1915), led the family firm, N M Rothschild & Sons from New Court, St Swithin's Lane as Senior Partner from 1879 until his death. Under his direction, the bank made 70 loans, and was instrumental in establishing the Exploration Company to exploit opportunities in the New World. 

In 2015, the Archive commemorated the centenary of the death of Nathaniel and 175th anniversary of his birth with a project to transcribe over 9,000 pages of business letters. The volunteer project was a great success, and now the detailed text of the letters is being made publicly available for the first time. 

'My Dear Cousins': writing the new century

Between 1906 and 1914 Natty and the Rothschild Partners personally wrote or dictated over 2,000 letters to their French cousins in the Paris bank, M M de Rothschild Frères in the rue Laffitte. The letters reveal much about Natty and his world, and are crucial for understanding the business of the bank during this period, and are even more important as many of the papers of Natty were destroyed (in accordance with his wishes) after his death.

The majority of the letters were sent at the behest of Lord Rothschild, but on occasion letters were signed by his brothers Alfred Charles de Rothschild (1842-1918), (who was to succeed Natty as Senior Partner in 1915), and Leopold de Rothschild (1845-1917).  Other letters are signed by Natty’s son (Nathaniel) Charles Rothschild (1877-1923), and Natty’s nephews Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1882-1942), and Evelyn Achille de Rothschild (1886-1917) and Anthony Gustav de Rothschild (1887-1961).  The letters were received by their cousins in Paris, Edouard Alphonse James de Rothschild (1868-1949), Robert Phillippe Gustave de Rothschild (1880-1946) and James Armand de Rothschild (1878-1957).

Today, copies of these letters form a unique and irreplaceable resource for the study of finance and commerce just before the First World War. Throughout his life and through his many guises Natty would have corresponded with some of the most notable people of his time.  His business and influence reached across the globe, and his philanthropic endeavours touched and improved the lives of many.  The surviving letters to the French cousins are a commentary on the day’s business, reporting on the state of the markets and price of gold etc., but the letters also record the personal achievements and day-to-day family events of the Rothschild family, spread across the great cities of Europe. 

The letters shed new light upon business priorities and world events. The 'My Dear Cousins': writing the new century website celebrates the lives of the letter writers, and the events that shaped the business. Researchers will be able to view the detailed text of over 9,000 letters and explore a detailed chronology, and links to further sources.

Rothschild Collections

The Rothschild Archive is pleased to announce the launch of a new microsite as part of the Rothschild Research Forum dedicated to aspects of Rothschild collecting and collections.

This new microsite contains new pages of information about historic Rothschild collections across Europe, including details of important Rothschild sales, inventories and catalogues and information about restitution aftyer the Second World War. New researchers will need to apply for a Research Forum account to access these pages. 

Go to 'Rothschild Collections' »

 

Rothschild Business

The Rothschild Archive is pleased to launch a new Research Forum microsite dedicated to all aspects of the Rothschild businesses. The microsite contains over 500 new pages of information about historic Rothschild business activities worldwide.

The new Rothschild Business microsite inlcudes detailed information about the history of the five Rothschild busines houses and key series of records. It contains detailed information about key Rothschild agents, and business activities worldwide. New researchers will need to apply for a Research Forum account to access these pages. 

Go to 'Rothschild Business' »

The 'Nathaniel 100' Transcription Project

In 2015 The Rothschild Archive London commemorated the centenary of the death of Nathaniel, ('Natty'), 1st Lord Rothschild and the 175th anniversary of his birth. Natty is regarded as the elder statesman of the City. The Nathaniel100 project undertook the transcription, by volunteers of over 9,000 pages of business letters written by Natty to his French cousins.

Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild ('Natty'), to his friends and many business acquaintances) was born in 1840. He led the family firm, N M Rothschild & Sons from New Court, St Swithin's Lane as Senior Partner from 1879 until his death. Under Natty's direction, the bank made 70 loans, and was instrumental in establishing the Exploration Company to exploit opportunities in the New World. Natty was an MP, gaining Aylesbury for the Liberals in 1865. Natty became the first Jewish peer in 1885, taking the title Lord Rothschild of Tring.

'Decoding Disappearing Dispatches'

Between 1906 and 1914 Natty personally wrote or dictated over 2,000 letters to his French cousins in the Paris bank, M M de Rothschild Frères in the rue Laffitte. Copies of the letters, made using a ‘wet copy’ process were kept by the clerks in the records department of the London bank, preserved in the archives under the reference XI/130. Today, these copy letters, on flimsy tissue-like paper are fading badly and in many cases are now difficult to read. The Archive needed to capture a record of their content before the letters deteriorated completely. The letters reveal much about Natty and his world, and are crucial for understanding the business of the bank during this period, and are even more important as many of the papers of the first Lord Rothschild were destroyed (in accordance with his wishes) after his death.

Launched in Spring 2015, with the help of a team of dedicated volunteers, The Rothschild Archive London undertook a programme of work to ensure that this vital information was not lost. In 2016, the Project was developed into a new website 'My Dear Cousins': writing the new century, to make publicly available the content of the transcribed letters.

The Rothschild Genealogy

The Rothschild Archive maintains a genealogy of the Rothschild family descended from Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) of Frankfurt.

The Rothschild Geneaology

The Rothschild Archive is responsible for maintaining the family tree of the male lines of the Rothschild banking family descended from Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812), and the Archive also keeps records of the female lines.

The Rothschild Archive has prepared on online genealogy of the Rothschild family tree.

 

Rothschild Biographies

Historical information about the Rothschild family has been brought together on a new microsite, containing information about Rothschild biographies, Rothschild estates and a Rothschild bibliography.

The Rothschild archive has compiled short biographies of 168 members of the Rothschild family descended from Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) of Frankfurt. A Rothschild Research Forum membership is not required to access these pages. 

Go to The Rothschild Family: Biographies »

Rothschild Estates

Historical information about the Rothschild family has been brought together on a new microsite, containing information about Rothschild biographies, Rothschild estates and a Rothschild bibliography.

The Rothschild Archive maintains historical information about principal residences of the Rothschild family in England, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. A Rothschild Research Forum membership is not required to access these pages.

Go to The Rothschild Family: Estates »

Guide to the Collections of The Rothschild Archive

A Guide to the business records of the the five Rothschild banks, together with other important collections held by the Rothschild Archive.

The Rothschild business was established by Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) in Frankfurt. The success of the Rothschild family business owes much to the solidity of the original partnership of the five sons of Mayer Amschel Rothschild, who developed businesses in five European capitals: Frankfurt, London, Paris, Vienna and Naples.

Working in close harmony, the family rose to prominence in a number of business sectors including bullion, government bonds, railway and mining finance. Despite the close links between the brothers and the firms, the business records of each have had a distinct history.

A Guide to the business records of the the five Rothschild banks, together with other important collections held by the Rothschild Archive is maintained on its own microsite.

Rothschilds and Science

Information about the scientific interests of Rothschild family members

Many members of the Rothschild family have excelled in the field of scientific resarch and discovery. Rothschild Scientists aims to bring together dispersed collections relating to members of the Rothschild family in a virtual archive. The first year of the project was funded by The Rothschild Foundation and funding has been secured to run the project for a further two years from The Eranda Foundation.

Early findings revealed that the richness and diversity of the collections would benefit from more detailed research. A number of workshops have been held to identify future research strands which incorporate the work of the Rothschild scientists and promote the use of the archives and collections they created.

A microsite has been created for further infiormation; new researchers will need to apply for a Research Forum account to access these pages. 

Go to Birds, bugs & botany: The Rothschilds & Science »

The American Project

The American Project explores the nature and extent of the activities of the family businesses across the Americas.

The American Project: Rothschild Trade and Finance in the Long Nineteenth Century

The Rothschild Archive holds a comprehensive and diverse collection of archives relating to Rothschild family businesses, reflecting the contribution Rothschild has made to the economic, political and social history of many countries throughout the world. 

Recent exploration in the archives suggests that Rothschild business in the Atlantic trade was more significant than previously thought. This project has been developed for the purposes of evaluating that business in the light of new archival discoveries and, at the same time, making this underused resource better known to the research community in general, and especially those studying Atlantic history. A focused programme of research will yield rich insight into the nature of nineteenth century global trade and finance and deepen our understanding of the relationships between the five Rothschild houses in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna and Naples.

Rothschild Bonds

This project investigates bonds as decorative works of art as well as financial instruments, and provides further information about key sources to be found in the collections of The Rothschild Archive for the study of international finance.

Among the extensive collections of The Rothschild Archive are a number of large boxes and bundles of cancelled and specimen bonds. With many of the distinctive features of banknotes – their texture, smell and colour and the forgery-defying curlicues and confident iconography of their design – the bonds still have the unmistakeable aura of money. Each of these bonds is a representation of the contract by which the capital of individual investors was put into action across the world to develop infrastructure and keep governments solvent, from the end of the Napoleonic wars to the beginning of the Second World War.

The Rothschild prominence in the London market in government bonds is impressive. It is estimated that between 1865 and 1914 almost three-quarters of this market was handled by NM Rothschild & Sons, either solely or in partnership. The Rothschild banks were also prominent in railway financing: private railway companies often raised money with the backing of government guarantees, which meant that these bond issues functioned in a manner virtually identical with that of the government bonds.

The Rothschild Bonds microsite celebrates these records as miniatrure works of art, and provides further information about key sources to be found in the collections of The Rothschild Archive for the study of international finance. A Rothschild Research Forum account is required to access this site. Apply for membership of the Rothschild Research Forum here.

Rothschild and Philanthropy

This project aims to examine the scale and impact of Jewish charitable activity across Europe, centred upon a study of the Rothschild family's practice and contribution.

Jewish Philanthropy and Social Development in Europe, c. 1800-1940: The Case of the Rothschilds 

This project aims to examine the scale and impact of Jewish charitable activity across Europe, centred upon a study of the Rothschild family's practice and contribution. The Project is generously funded by the Hanadiv Charitable Foundation (London) and the research foundation Fritz Thyssen Stifftung (Cologne). The project partners are The Rothschild Archive, The University of London and The University of Southampton. This work touches upon an enormous range of social issues, including work with children, biological and medical research and the provision of medical facilities, education, poor relief and housing, cultural and artistic support and support to Jewish organisations and issues.

Rothschild and Brazil

N M Rothschild and Sons in London has a long history of involvement in Brazil dating back to the early nineteenth century.

N M Rothschild and Sons in London has a long history of involvement in Brazil dating back to the early nineteenth century; there are letters from Brazil in the archive dating from 1812. NMR carried out merchant banking activities for firms based in Brazil or having business in Brazil. The bank accepted bills of exchange, traded in specie and bullion, and arranged shipment and insurance of goods. From the mid-nineteenth century onwards more of NMR's business in Brazil was with the government, and NMR was pre-eminent in raising capital for the Brazilian government on the London market.

Extensive documentation of this history is preserved in The Rothschild Archive in London. The Rothschild Archive has made over 25,000 digital images documenting the history of Rothschilds and Brazil available online. Key series, with material dating from 1815-1940, have been scanned and this material has been made available online to allow access to researchers regardless of their geographic location.

New researchers will need to apply for a Research Forum account to access these pages. 

Go to Rothschild and Brazil »

 

Judendeutsch Letters

This is the Rothschild Archive's long programme of work to transcribe and translate the Judendeutsch letters of the five Rothschild brothers.

The Judendeutsch Letters Project

This is the Rothschild Archive's long programme of work to transcribe and translate the Judendeutsch letters of the five Rothschild brothers. The correspondence, written in the German language and committed to paper in Hebrew letters, remains impenetrable to most people. The Archive aims to open them up to the wider world of scholarship. The letters date from 1811 to 1868, and Judendeutsch letters are scattered among some 142 boxes of correspondence in the Rothschild Archive in London. No precise assessment of their number has yet been made, though an estimate suggests a total of some 20,000. In 1989 work began on the transcription of the letters, the burden of work to date having for the most part been undertaken by Mordechai Zucker, who has developed an unrivalled mastery of the script, language and idiosyncrasies of the writers. So far, some 2,500 letters have been fully translated.

Rothschild in Caricature

This project sets out to identify all surviving cartoons and caricatures of the Rothschild family.

Rothschild in Caricature

This project sets out to identify all surviving cartoons and caricatures of the Rothschild family and to use them as the basis for an analysis of changing attitudes towards the family and its enterprises. Since early in the 19th century, the Rothschilds have been almost constantly in the public eye, across Europe and beyond, but the public profile of the family has swung wildly with changing times and in different countries. Caricature provides an effective barometer of those varying moods and attitudes. Caricature highlights moments when the family has been the butt of virulent anti-semitism or has been identified with unpopular causes or movements and attacked as a readily accessible symbol. Equally, it can reflect moods of gentle - even affectionate - pinpointing of eccentricity or idiosyncracy. And of course it reflects and comments on significant moments in history in which the Rothschilds have been involved. To date almost 150 cartoons have been identified.

Rothschild Bibliography

A comprehensive list of books, articles and other published works by members of the Rothschild family.

The Rothschild Bibliography

The Rothschild family is well-known for its engagement with many different fields of knowledge and culture: one of the manifestations of this involvement is the range and quantity of their publications. The Rothschild Archive has been compiling what it hopes will be a near-exhaustive bibliography of books and other published works by members of the family born with the Rothschild surname. The bibliography to date contains over 1800 items written by fifty individuals. Subject matter ranges from poetry to political science, from natural history to economic history, and from fiction to philately.

Go to The Rothschild Family: Bibliography »

The Rothschild Research Forum

The Rothschild Research Forum is a partnership between Waddesdon Manor and The Rothschild Archive. Find out more about the Forum and how to join here.

The Rothschild Research Forum

The Rothschild Research Forum is the fruit of a collaboration between two research-focused organisations. The Rothschild Archive Trust is an educational trust established to preserve and give access to more than two million documents and photographs reflecting Rothschild family history. Waddesdon Manor, Ferdinand de Rothschild's Renaissance-style château in Buckinghamshire, is renowned for its collection of fine and decorative art and as a centre for the history of collecting. Fnd out more about Waddesdon and our research collaboration.

Full access to the fruits of many of our projects is by membership of The Rothschild Research Forum. The online resources of The Forum are a collection of Project and topic-specific micro-sites. 

To join The Forum please apply for membership here.