(Kathleen Annie Pannonica) Nica, Baroness de Koenigswarter (née Rothschild) (1913-1988)
Kathleen Annie Pannonica Rothschild was born in London on 10 December 1913, the youngest child of Charles and Rozsika. She studied art in London, Paris and Vienna, going on to create a series of abstract paintings. She flew her own plane and met her future husband, Baron Jules de Koenigswarter whilst piloting in France. They were married in 1935, and spent time at his family estate Château d'Abondant in Eure-et-Loir.
In 1940 she joined the Free French Forces and was assigned to take medical supplies to West Africa; she then served as a decoder in French Intelligence as well as a broadcaster for a Free French radio station and an ambulance driver for the 1st Free French Division in Egypt and North Africa.
She was passionate about music early in life, especially jazz. After her marriage was dissolved in 1956, she moved to the United States where she actively supported jazz and some of it greatest musicians. She wrote a number of important articles about jazz, became a member of the Musicians' Union, and was instrumental in the abolition of the notorious Cabaret Card in 1967. Her great knowledge of jazz and her unstinting efforts on behalf of its musicians earned her admiration world-wide. Musicians dedicated over 20 compositions, many classics, to the woman they knew as Nica or 'the jazz Baroness'. Several jazz nightclubs, records shops and a restaurant were named in her honour.
Nica loved cats and was surrounded by them in her home in New Jersey overlooking the Hudson River. She died on 30 November 1988. She had 2 sons and 3 daughters, 2 grandsons and 2 great grandchildren.
See also Named Collections, The Baroness de Koenigswarter Photograph Collection for a collection of photographs of jazz musicians, friends and acquaintances of Nica, mostly taken by her. See Art Collection, Works by Rothschilds, for prints of artwork by Nica.
Nica Rothschild, sundry papers, 1941-1984
000/1725, 1 file
A small collection of modern photocopies of writings and transcripts of broadcasts by Nica: text of broadcast about French women during the Second World War, transmitted by the Free French to the Vichy-occupied French colonies on 18 September 1941 (translated from French); photocopy of letter to Jazz Hot no. 334, February 1977, p.3. (includes copy of photograph of Nica and Thelonius Monk); photocopy of sleeve notes written by Nica for the album Criss-Cross by Thelonius Monk, 1963; photocopy of review by Nica of "'Live at the Village Vanguard': a review of Max Gordon's memoirs", published in Jazz Spotlite News Fall 1980-Winter 1981. Also photocopy of this review reproduced in Coda, no. 194, 1984.
Nica Rothschild, secondary sources, 2008
000/1902, 1 cassette tape
Recording of radio programme The Jazz Baroness by Hannah Rothschild, about Nica. Broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 12 February 2008, repeated 16 February 2008.