Welcome toThe Rothschild Archive'swebsite

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

Christmas gift books, 1909, 1912 and 1931

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.

Traditionally, boxes of cigars, poultry, game, pies, pâté, and fruit were sent from New Court to friends, business associates, charities and staff as seasonal gifts.

Among the many fine traditions of New Court is the gift of a turkey to the staff at Christmas.  Although it cannot be pinpointed as to when exactly this festive tradition began, we know from records in the Archive that it has been continuing for over a century.  There are three volumes in the Archive that list the gifts given by the Rothschild family, and the business of N M Rothschild & Sons at Christmas: the first from 1909, the second from 1912 and the third from 1931. 

These three volumes, which have survived through the serendipitous nature of archives, are a charming insight into the philanthropic nature of the Rothschild family.  Entries include gifts sent to societies such as ‘The Society of Friends for Foreigners in Distress in London’, numerous hospitals, the Lombard Street General Post Office staff, members of the Metropolitan Police and staff at various London railway stations.  The first entry in the 1912 volume simply states “His Majesty, The King”, although sadly it does not list the gifts that were sent.  The 1931 volume listing turkeys given to bank staff is divided into sections: Clerks 94, Refinery 17, Lady Clerks 36 and Pensioners 56.  Today, of course, the company has grown, but this extraordinary tradition still survives. 

Extract from Gift Book, 1909: N M Rothschild Refinery staff:

G. Dudoit Esq: 2 ox tongues, 200 cigars, 2 turkeys, 4 pheasants.

L. Arnould: 100 cigars, a turkey, 2 pheasants

G. Buess: 50 cigars, a turkey, 2 pheasants …

RAL reference: RAL 000/318

The 1931 Christmas gift book.

The 1931 Christmas gift book.

Turkey Day 2007 by Matthew Cook

Turkey Day 2007 by Matthew Cook