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

June 2015: Phrenology reports, 1849

Treasure of the Month: The collections of The Rothschild Archive London contain over two million pieces of paper, volumes, files, photographs, artefacts and art works. Each month the archivists will highlight a particular treasure from the collections.

Phrenology reports: Lady de Rothschild and her daughters

Phrenology (from the Greek for "mind"; and "knowledge") is a science primarily focused on measurements of the human skull, based on the concept that the brain is the organ of the mind, and that certain brain areas have specific functions that can be linked to particular character traits. Developed by German physician Franz Joseph Gall in 1796, the principal British centre for phrenology was Edinburgh, where the Edinburgh Phrenological Society was established in 1820. Phrenological thinking was influential in 19th-century psychiatry.

Although early French writings on phrenology had been used for anti-semitic propaganda against James de Rothschild (1792-1868) in Paris, by the mid-19th century the science had gained popularity in England. Members of the English Rothschild family, favouring the fashions of the day, put themselves forward for phrenlogical examinations. In 1849, Lady Louise de Rothschild (1821-1910), wife of Nathan’s son Sir Anthony de Rothschild (1810-1876) and her young daughters Constance (1843-1931) and Annie (1844-1926) visited a Dr Marriatt, who conducted phrenological assessments, and wrote a short report on each of them.

Dr Marriatt believed that the human mind had a set of various mental faculties, each one represented in a different area of the brain, as indicated on the chart on the right. These areas were said to be proportional to a person's propensities. It was believed that the skull accommodates to the different sizes of these areas of the brain, so that a person's capacity for a given personality trait could be determined simply by measuring the area of the skull that overlay the corresponding area of the brain.

Constance was found to be affectionate, cheerful, imaginative and fond of poetry, according to the test carried out by Mr Marriatt.

RAL reference: RAL 000/297/1/3  

Phrenology assessment for Constance de Rothschild 1849

Phrenology assessment for Constance de Rothschild 1849

Phrenology report by Dr Marriatt for Constance de Rothschild 1849

Phrenology report by Dr Marriatt for Constance de Rothschild 1849