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

Exhibition - Season's Greetings

1: Sir Henry Cole begins a tradition

It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that the practice of sending cards became widespread. It was the British public servant, Henry Cole (1808-1882), who can lay claim to starting a tradition that has survived 175 years. His name may be familiar to Londoners; he served as the first director of what was to become the Victoria & Albert Museum from 1857 to 1873.

It is said that in 1843 Cole found he was too busy to send his customary Christmas letters to all his friends and acquaintances. Instead, he commissioned his friend, the artist John Callcott Horsley, to design a card for him to send. The illustration depicted three generations of a Victorian family drinking a toast to the recipient over a banner with the greeting “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you”. One thousand of the cards were made and individually hand-coloured. After Cole had sent his cards, the remaining cards were sold by his business partner Joseph Cundall at his emporium in Bond Street, for the then princely sum of one shilling each. Cole’s card proved popular, (a second batch of 1,000 also sold out).  With reductions in postage costs and improvements in printing technology the sending of cards became widely popular in the 1860s and 1870s.

This mosaic of Henry Cole can be found in the Henry Cole Wing of the Victoria and Albert Museum.