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

The Rothschild Family

The Rothschild family can trace their origins back to the Frankfurt's Judengasse in the 1450s. Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) laid the foundations on which his five sons and their descendants would build a Europe wide banking empire, establishing their businesses and making their family homes in Vienna, London, Paris and Naples, as well as Frankfurt.

By the mid 19th century, the Rothschilds began to enjoy the fruits of their labours, and when they were at their height, the Rothschild family collectively possessed one of the largest private fortunes in the world, which enabled them to create houses, gardens and great collections that have become a significant part of the heritage of Europe.

The Rothschild style

From magnificent country estates with flamboyant gardens to elegant townhouses and exotic villas, the Rothschilds stamped their distinctive style on their many residences. Their homes also provided wonderful settings for their many and varied collections, themselves testament to the family's drive for perfection in all they set out to achieve. As dedicated collectors, from books to butterflies, stamps to silver, they vied among themselves to develop the most spectacular collections. Not content with merely gathering, the Rothschilds acquired the skills to develop collections of significance, adding to the knowledge of scientists and art historians worldwide. Other members of the family, with scientific inclinations, sought out zoological and horticultural specimens; others pursued political as well as banking careers.

Family philanthropy

Brought up in the Jewish ghetto of Frankfurt, the five Rothschild brothers were imbued with a strong sense of the tradition of Zedaka, which places expectations on members of the community to work for social justice by offering material support for those in need. As the family's wealth and influence grew, so did their commitment to this principle, along with their ability to apply it in more ambitious ways, and the family endowed and supported hospitals, schools and many other charitable institutions. Many of the family's great collections were bequeathed to libraries, galleries and museums, where they can be seen today.

Read more about individual family members, their estates, style, interests and collections in these pages.

A tour of Italy c.1907: Marie de Rothschild Lord Bessborough and Mrs Sassoon

A tour of Italy c.1907: Marie de Rothschild Lord Bessborough and Mrs Sassoon

Nathaniel ('Natty') 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915)

Nathaniel ('Natty') 1st Lord Rothschild (1840-1915)