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Sources for business history

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

The actress, director and producer Nicole Stéphanie de Rothschild

The collections of The Rothschild Archive London contain over two million pieces of paper, volumes, files, photographs, artefacts and art works. Archivist's Choice is a series a short articles each highlighting a treasure from the Archive collection, or celebrating an anniversary or special event. Browse through our library of Archivist's Choice articles to discover some of the fascinating stories behind our collections.

In this choice we look back at the life and career of award-winning actress, director and producer – and member of the Rothschild family – Nicole Stéphane, born Nicole Mathilde Stéphanie de Rothschild in 1923, the daughter of James de Rothschild (1896-1984) and his wife Claude, née Dupont (1904-1964).

Nicole was a member of the branch of the Rothschild family which has owned Château Mouton since 1853 and which is also known for its literary and theatrical passions. Her grandfather Henri (1872-1947) was a prolific playwright (using the pseudonyms Charles des Fontaines and André Pascal) and a theatre producer, notably at the Théâtre Pigalle in Paris. Her paternal uncle Philippe (1902-1988) was a poet, playwright, theatre-owner and producer of early motion pictures. Philippe’s daughter Philippine (1933-2014) was a well known actress at the Comédie Française, under the stage name Philippine Pascale.

The outbreak of the Second World War

There was clearly no shortage of inspiration for Nicole in her chosen career. However, before that could begin, she was forced to flee France as war closed in, escaping first to Portugal with her sister Monique (1925-2018). In her 2001 book Si j’ai bonne mémoire… Monique wrote about their lives as combatants with the Free French forces. Emerging from the war years, Nicole travelled to Israel in 1948 to interview the country’s first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion.

A lasting legacy

Her life experiences influenced her career profoundly. As a producer and director she made award-winning films about conflict, including Mourir en Madrid (1962, directed by Frédéric Rossif); Une Guerre Pour une Paix (1967) and En attendant Godot à Sarajevo (1993). 

As an actress, Nicole is best known for her roles in two films directed by Jean-Pierre Melville: La Silence de la Mer (1949) and Les Enfants Terribles (1950), for which she was nominated for the UK’s 1953 BAFTA award for Best Foreign Actress. Her outstanding career earned her the French honour of Member of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Nicole on Nicole

In the years since her death in 2007, several films have been made about Nicole, to add to the small body of work available online in which she talks about her career.

Watch an interview with Nicole where she speaks about Mourir en Madrid here »

In 2018, after such an eventful life and career, Nicole said of herself "Quand vous parlerez de moi insistez sur le côté displaced person" [When you talk about me, emphasize the displaced person]. Watch the full interview here »

Nicole and her sister Monique

Nicole and her sister Monique