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

A family Partnership

In 1810, Mayer Amschel Rothschild created Mayer Amschel Rothschild & Söhne, with himself, Amschel, Salomon and Carl as partners. By signed agreement, Mayer Amschel bound his male descendants into one Rothschild firm.

Two hundred years of Partnership

"We are like the mechanism of a watch...each part is essential..." Salomon von Rothschild to Nathan Mayer Rothschild, c.1818

On 27th September 1810, Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) and three of his five sons, Amschel (1773-1855), Salomon (1774-1855) and Carl (1788-1855), became partners in a new firm, Mayer Amschel Rothschild & Sons. Two of the five sons were not party to the first partnership agreement in Frankfurt, although they signed the subsequent ones. Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836), founder of the British branch of the family business was already in London, having established his business there by 1809; James, the youngest of the brothers, who went on to found the French business, entered into the partnership when he came of age.

Mayer Amschel believed that forming a partnership would sustain a strong family business into the future, a belief that proved to be correct. The agreement ensured that the reputation that Mayer Amschel had built up for himself, through a lifetime of innovative trading, could be passed on to the next generation. By remaining true to the principles and rules of the partnership and by staying in close communication, the brothers went on to create a business that has remained at the forefront of global finance.

The formal structure of the partnership agreement survived into the twentieth century, though the family business subsequently adopted more sophisticated corporate structures. Profit sharing was built into the agreement. Mayer Amschel intended that his sons should share out the profits of the partnership, ensuring that the brothers were committed to the well-being of each other, and the partnership as a whole.

Rothschild women played an important role in providing advice and using their social connections to promote the business. They were, however, not able to formally join the partnership to ensure that no sons-in-law could lay claim to a controlling interest in the business.

Read a translation of the full text of the first Partnership agreement here »

The first partnership agreement

The first partnership agreement

Letter in Judendeutsch written between the five brothers

Letter in Judendeutsch written between the five brothers