A research resource for the history of international lending
Throughout the 19th century, the primary and best known area of business of the London house was the issuing of bonds as a means of raising loans, largely for sovereign governments. The bond was one of the most important instruments of international 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 signed and sealed parchment contracts with borrowing governments; correspondence with governments concerning the procurement, negotiation and servicing of loans; ledgers recording purchases of bonds and the accounts for their repayment; and, of course, the prospectuses, scrip and bonds themselves.
Open to Research Forum members, researchers can now browse through the following sections of the Rothschild Bonds microsite:
List of loans - A list of loans issued by, or contracted for, by Rothschild business houses:
- Loans business of the Frankfurt house, 1817-1865
- Loans business of the London house, 1818-1945
- Loans bsuoiness of the Paris house, 1823-1894
Archive sources - A Guide to sources for bonds and loans in the collections of The Rothschild Archive London, inlcuding correspondence series and records of the Loans Department, and mini-guides, arranged by name of country.
Digital Archive - Loan Prospectuses and Bond certificates for issues by the London house.
Bonds gallery - A gallery of bonds and other documentation relating to the loans business.