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Sources for business history: plans of New Court

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

Quill pens

A glimpse into the work of a 19th century clerk.

000/2233 Three feather quill pens


In June 2014, an exciting discovery was made by a researcher in one of the General Letter Copy Books.

The General Letter Copy books (XI/148/0-454) are a series of volumes of the outgoing business correpsondence of the London house, recording mainly routine business. There are 455 large volumes beginning in 1814. The copies were made using a wet copy process and there are approximately 250 pages in each volume, onto which are pasted up to six pages of flimsy copies on delicate paper. They are a useful resource for an understanding of the Rothschild business.

The quill pens were found in the letter copy book with entries for 25th February 1820 and 9th June 1820. (XI/148/10). They are believed to date from 1820, and still contain traces of ink on the nibs.

A quill pen was typically made from a moulted flight feather (preferably a primary wing-feather) of a large bird. Quills were used for writing with ink before the invention of the dip pen, the metal-nibbed pen, the fountain pen, and the ballpoint pen.

Letter copy book for 1820

Letter copy book for 1820

Quill pen c.1820

Quill pen c.1820