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Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839-1898)

Ferdinand James Anselm de Rothschild, the son of Anselm and Charlotte, was born in Paris on 17 December 1839 and educated in Vienna. England, his mother's home country became his adopted home, even after the tragic death in childbirth of his wife Evelina whom he had married on 7 July 1865. A lasting memorial to his wife was the Evelina Hospital for Sick Children in London, which he established and supported. Ferdinand lived near his relatives in London, mixing in the same social circles as his brother-in-law, Natty, and counting the Prince of Wales among his friends.

Waddesdon, the magnificent property he commissioned in the Vale of Aylesbury, was the scene of splendid entertainment. In Rothschild fashion, Ferdinand settled into the community around his estate, representing Aylesbury as Liberal MP from 1885 and serving as JP and Deputy Lieutenant and Sheriff of Buckinghamshire. An active Freemason, he was a founder member and master of the Ferdinand de Rothschild Lodge in 1892.  In a family of collectors of distinction, Ferdinand was pre-eminent. The Waddesdon Bequest Room at the British Museum was established to accommodate the enormous collection he left the institution in his will.

A copy of Ferdinand de Rothschild's 'Red Book', a privately printed album of photographs and an essay by Ferdinand recording the building, interiors, and collections assembled at Waddesdon can be found in The Exbury Collection, reference 000/880/21/1. Another copy of the 'Red Book' can also be found in the collections of Waddesdon Manor. A digitised version of their copy can be viewed here » The Rothschild Archive London holds a small amount of Ferdinand's private correspondence to other members of the Rothschild family.

Copies of published works by Ferdinand de Rothschild in the collection are listed below; in addition, a copy of Ferdinand's essay, 'The expansion of art' from The Fortnightly Review, vol. XXXVII., 1885 and 'Village lectures: Queen Elizabeth; The Reign of Queen Anne; John Wilkes; George III' c.1885 will be found in the Reading Room.

Further papers relating to Ferdinand de Rothschild are held by The Archive, Windmill Hill, Waddesdon Manor »

Ferdinand de Rothschild, correspondence, 1863-1892

000/26, 109 items

A collection of 108 letters from Ferdinand, dating from between 1863, before his marriage to Evelina the daughter of Charlotte and Lionel, and 1892, are addressed mainly to his parents-in-law and, after their deaths, to Leopold. The letters written on his European tour after the death of his wife are valuable for the information they reveal about his collecting interests in the years before he built Waddesdon.

Note: item 000/26/109 is an unknown carte de visite, found with these letters. It is not known to relate to any of the letters in the collection. Some items in this collection are believed to have been extracted from the XI/109 series. Letters written by Ferdinand on the subject of his wife Evelina's death in 1867, to his cousin Leopold de Rothschild, will be found in the Ascott Collection, (000/924/13/3).

Transcripts available in the  Reading Room

Ferdinand de Rothschild, correspondence, 1879-1880

000/1200, 6 items

Six letters from Ferdinand de Rothschild to the NMR concerning personal banking matters.

Ferdinand de Rothschild, executors' papers , 1898-1901

000/110, 1 box

Rothschild family papers transferred to the Archive from the New Court vaults. It is believed that the papers were held by various solicitors acting for members of the Rothschild family, before being sent to the New Court vaults, and largely concern legal matters. Papers of the Executors of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild concerning matters pertaining to his estate, including: folder od sundry correspondence, copy correspondence and papers between Messrs. Rothschild [N M Rothschild & Sons] and Salomon Albert Rothschild (1844-1911), Ferdinand’s brother; correspondence between Messrs Rothschild Rothschild [N M Rothschild & Sons] and Alice de Rothschild (1847-1922), Ferdinand’s sister; Case Opinion of Mr. Swinden Eady re. Baron Rothschild dec'd, 2 March 1899; Case Submitted by Mr. Swinden Eady, 10 March 1899; Case Opinion of Mr. John Henderson re. Baron Rothschild dec'd, 1899; correspondence, copy correspondence and papers between G.E.Renwick and H.Wyatt; between G.E.Renwick and Messrs. Glasden & Trekerne; between N M Rothschild & Sons and  de Rothschild Frères and other sundry correspondence, 1899; correspondence, copy correspondence and papers between Messrs. Rothschild and Messrs R.S. Taylor, Son & Co. 1899-1900.

Ferdinand and Evelina de Rothschild, marriage contract and sundry legal papers, 1865-1900

000/108, 1 box

Rothschild family papers transferred to the Archive from the New Court vaults. It is believed that the papers were held by various solicitors acting for members of the Rothschild family, before being sent to the New Court vaults, and largely concern legal matters. Papers of the Executors of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild concerning matters pertaining to his estate, including: Contract of marriage between Ferdinand de Rothschild (1839-1898) and Evelina de Rothschild, dated 3 June 1865; Deed of marriage dated 6 June 1865; two Alliance Assurance Company policy certificates for fire assurance taken out on property owned by Ferdinand de Rothschild, June 1875, 43 Piccadilly; Leighton House, Leighton Buzzard; folder of sundry correspondence and accounts relating to finances of Ferdinand de Rothschild, mainly securities, 1895-1900; typescript catalogue of the collections in the Smoking Room at Waddesdon Manor, 20 October 1897; Copy of the will of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, dated 20 October 1897; printed copy of the will of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, dated 20 October 1897 and codicil dated 9 December 1897; printed list of ‘Legatees of Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild deceased’ prepared by R.S.Taylor, Son and Humbert, Gray’s Inn, W.C. [1898].

Ferdinand de Rothschild, obituaries, 1898

000/345, 000/377, 000/1577, 6 volumes, 1 item

Five volumes of obituaries and other press cuttings, including order of service for Ferdinand's funeral. These seem to consist of a set of three, labelled Vols 1, 2 and 3, plus two other volumes which seem to be unique individual volumes rather than a set. A further single volume is to be in found in 000/377. 000/1577 is a complete copy of the Daily Graphic newpaper, 19 December 1898 featuring  an obituary for Ferdinand de Rothschild.

Ferdinand de Rothschild, probate of will, 1899

000/420, 1 item

Manuscript parchment probate of the will of Ferdinand de Rothschild.

Ferdinand de Rothschild, publications, 1890

000/2461, 1 item

Essay, "The Comte de Clermont", by Ferdinand de Rothschild, extracted from The Nineteenth Century, 1890. 

Ferdinand de Rothschild, publications, 1896

000/2570, 1 volume

Personal Characteristics From French History, Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, M.P. with portraits, (Macmillan and Co, Ltd, London 1896).