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Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836)

Nathan Mayer Rothschild was born in Frankfurt at the house of the Hinterpfann on 16 September 1777. In the intervening 59 years, Nathan Mayer Rothschild - the name he never changed in spite of honours offered and declined - led his brothers to the pinnacle of the financial world.

Nathan almost burst out of Frankfurt, the first of his brothers to found a branch of the family firm, to settle in England in 1798, initially as a textile merchant in Manchester and subsequently as a London bill broker nonpareil. His marriage in 1806 to Hannah, daughter of Levi Barent Cohen, gave him a position in society and a range of business contacts which might have taken him years to achieve alone. Building on this foundation and wedding it to the Rothschild network, Nathan was credited by his brothers with securing for them the best opportunities to achieve their position in the world of finance.

Nathan was a popular 'Manchester man', an indulgent father, a respectful husband, an admired (if occasionally feared) brother. He was a larger than life figure on the London exchanges, giving himself totally to his business, permitting no half measures. His brusqueness and off-handedness were legendary, and his tactics were examined and re-examined time and time again. Nathan's London House, N M Rothschild, dealt in bullion and foreign exchange, and his remarkable successes in these fields earned him the contract from the British Government to supply Wellington's troops with gold coin in 1814 and 1815, leading up to the Battle of Waterloo. He issued 26 British and foreign government loans between 1818 and 1835 and in 1824 floated the Alliance Assurance Company.

Moving to New Court, St Swithin's Lane in London in 1809, Nathan initially raised his family there too, but by 1816 had found a villa at Stamford Hill to provide more space and better air. In 1825, the family's town home was established at 107, Piccadilly and in 1835, Nathan took on Gunnersbury Park in west London. In June 1836 Nathan travelled to Frankfurt for the wedding of his son Lionel to his niece Charlotte; Nathan died in Frankfurt on 28 July 1836.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, artefacts, wax mould for commemorative medallion, c.1836

000/1911/44, 1 item

Small wax relief effigy of Nathan Mayer Rothschild, in a glass roundel, framed in a small ebony frame. This wax mould was created for the commemorative medallion commemorating the death of Nathan Mayer Rothschild ‘Pioneer of Finance’ in 1836. The medallion was commissioned by King George IV.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, artefacts, commemorative medallion, 1836

000/1447, 000/2171, 000/1546, 000/2335, 4 items

Examples of the medallion struck in 1836 to commemorate the death of Nathan Mayer Rothschild: two bronze medallions; two silver medallions.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, artefacts, death mask, 1836

000/1963, 000/1964, 4 items

Three plaster copies of the death mask of Nathan Mayer Rothschild. One plaster copy of the death mask of Nathan Mayer Rothschild is mounted in a two part showcase. Small wooden box with the inscription "Death Mask of Nathan Mayer Rothschild, July 28th 1836" which was used to contain the original death mask of Nathan Mayer Rothschild. The original death mask was retained by Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild in 1988.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, artefacts, cameo , c.1836

000/1911/13, 1 item

Miniature oval cameo on black glass/jet of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836). In a leather box. Inscribed on reverse "Baron N M de Rothschild Obt July 28 1836 cetat 59".This may have been made as a mourning piece, possibly French.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, appointment as Austrian Consul General in London , 1820; 1825

000/274/5, 000/274/8, 000/274/11, 3 items

Imperial Letters Patent with seal of Francis I of Austria appointing Nathan Mayer Rothschild Austrian Consul General in London. Wax seal of the Emperor in an engraved brass tin affixed to the document, April 1820; Recognition from the British Government of Nathan Rothschild's appointment as Austrian Consul in London. Signed on behalf of King George VI by Viscount Castlereagh,  12 July 1820; Passport issued by Nathan Mayer Rothschild as Austrian Consul in London for Mr Charles Stuber, 1825.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, correspondence, 1834

000/1855, 1 item

Letter dated 1 July 1834 from Nathan Rothschild to his brother Salomon, asking the latter to provide any necessary assistance to the wife of John Abel Smith MP.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, correspondence, 1836

000/28, 2 items

Two letters from Nathan written during illness, prior to his son Lionel's wedding in 1836, in Frankfurt to Nathaniel and Anthony. The letters also include letters (using reverse side of the above) from his son Lionel, and his wife Hannah. Shortly after the wedding, Nathan died in Frankfurt due to an infected boil. The letters from Nathan primarily concern business and advice and instructions. The letters from Lionel and Hannah concern Nathan's health, the imminent wedding and other family news. The letters are presumed to have been extracted from XI/109/40, and taken to Ascott, from where this correspondence was transferred to The Rothschild Archive.

Transcripts available in the Reading Room

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, evidence to the Select Committee on the Usuary Laws, c.1821

000/2048, 1 item

Report from the Select Committee on the Usuary Laws, Mr N M Rothschild as witness, 30 April 1818 (House of Commons reprint 16th April 1821).

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, grant of arms, 1818

000/306, 1 item

Grant of Arms to Nathan Mayer Rothschild and his brothers, 1818, under George III by George Harrison, Clarenceux King of Arms.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, letters of denization, 1804

000/306, 1 item

Nathan Mayer Rothschild: letters of Denization, 1804.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, library collections, undated

000/375/8, 1 volume

Printed and bound order of service for the first two nights of Passover (N M Rothschild's own autograph copy).

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, library collections, 1800-c.1820

000/375/1, 10 volumes

Ten Hebrew texts belonging to N M Rothschild:

000/375/1/1: Hebrew prayer book for the Jewish high holidays. Part of the Roedelheim Mahzor.  Leather bound with tooling “1. N.M.Rothschild”.  Heidenheim, Roedelheim, 1800.  Title page bears a Hebrew inscription relating to Nathan. 

000/375/1/2: Hebrew prayer book for the Jewish high holidays. Part of the Roedelheim Mahzor.  Leather bound with tooling “2. N.M.Rothschild”.  Heidenheim, Roedelheim, 1800.  Title page bears a Hebrew inscription relating to Nathan. 

000/375/1/3: Hebrew prayer book for the Jewish high holidays. Part of the Roedelheim Mahzor.  Leather bound with tooling “3. N.M.Rothschild”.  Heidenheim, Roedelheim, 1805.  Title page bears a Hebrew inscription relating to Nathan. 

000/375/1/4: Hebrew prayer book for the Jewish high holidays. Part of the Roedelheim Mahzor.  Leather bound with tooling “5. N.M.Rothschild”.  Heidenheim, Roedelheim, 1800.  Title page bears a Hebrew inscription relating to Nathan. 

000/375/1/5: Hebrew prayer book for the Jewish high holidays. Part of the Roedelheim Mahzor.  Leather bound with tooling “7. N.M.Rothschild”.  Heidenheim, Roedelheim, 1803.  Title page bears a Hebrew inscription relating to Nathan. 

000/375/1/6: Hebrew prayer book for the Jewish high holidays. Part of the Roedelheim Mahzor.  Leather bound with tooling “8. N.M.Rothschild”.  Heidenheim, Roedelheim, 1800.  Title page bears a Hebrew inscription relating to Nathan. 

000/375/1/7: Hebrew prayer book for the Jewish high holidays. Part of the Roedelheim Mahzor.  Leather bound with tooling “9. N.M.Rothschild”.  Heidenheim, Roedelheim, 1803.  Title page bears a Hebrew inscription relating to Nathan. 

000/375/1/8: Robertson’s Compendious Hebrew Dictionary Corrected and Improved by Nahum Joseph, Teacher of Hebrew.  Richard Cruttwell, Bath, 1814.  Inscribed “Charlotte Rothschild, London, November 1818, bound May 19, given by Charlotte to her brother Lionel, written by Nat.” 

000/375/1/9: Hebrew prayer book for the Jewish high holidays.

000/375/1/10: Rituel des Prières Journalières, a l’usage des Israélites. Traduit de l’Hébreu par J[oel]. Anspach. 5580 [1820]

The Roedelheim Mahzor included the first complete translation into German, first written in Hebrew characters. They were printed in Roedelheim by Rabbi Wolf Heidenheim (1757-1832).  From 1838 on, the Heidenheim press published editions in Hebrew which included a translation into German, while continuing to publish some editions with the Judeo-German translation. With diverse and changing features such as rite, language, and layout, there were up to three different versions of the prayer book published in a given year. 

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, library collections, 1820

000/375/6, 1 item

Printed and bound copy of a dirge and hymn chanted in the Great Synagogue, St James Place, Aldgate on the day of the funeral of King George III, by Harman Harwitz of Highgate (printed on silk), 1820. 

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, library collections, c.1825-1836

000/376, 1 box

A small collection of printed books, including some Hebrew texts believed to have belonged to Nathan Mayer Rothschild, marked 'NMR'. Nathan Rothschild's copies of four books of the Pentateuch: four volumes, comprising Genesis, Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy and bearing the bookplate of N M Rothschild. The copy of Genesis, bound in red leather, was issued by Lion Soesmans of Duke Street, Aldgate, corrected and translated by David Levi. The bookplate, pasted inside the cover, reads 'N.M. Rothschild Esqr.' The other three volumes, also in Hebrew and English and bound in green, are perhaps the edition of 1789 produced by David Levi. The volumes are absent from the 1835 'Catalogue of the books belonging to the principal library of Baron N M de Rothschild' (000/162); this catalogue describes books at Gunnersbury Park, so it may be that the volumes here were kept at New Court.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, catalogue of library collections, c.1835

000/162, 1 vo;lume

Catalogue of Nathan’s library, probably the library at Gunnersbury Park, Nathan’s country estate.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, wedding invitation, 1806

000/87/13, 1 file

Invitation to wedding of Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777-1836) to Hannah Cohen (1783-1850) addressed to Michael Bing Nathan married Hannah in Frankfurt in 1806. It is possible that Michael Bing, a close associate or the Rothschild family in Frankfurt, Manchester and London, married into the Sichel family, already related to the Rothschilds since the marriage or Nathan's sister, Isabella, to Bernhard Judah Sichel.These papers were transferred to the Archive from the New Court vaults. It is likely that these papers were sent to New Court when the Frankfurt business was liquidated in 1901. Note: a transcript in English, c.1889 is included in this file. A manuscript copy of this invitation was sent from G.F. Sichel from Paris in 1889 to Lucien Wolf in London, who was planning a comprehensive history of the Rothschild amily. A framed modern version of this invitation (RAL 000/2610), in the style of a ketubah was produced for the 1998 Museum of London exhibition 'The Life and Times of N M Rothschild 1777-1836'. See exhibition catalogue, p.92. 

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, elegy on the death of N M Rothschild, 1836

000/376, 1 volume

Elegy on the death of N M Rothschild, Dr Benjamin Franklin, 1836. The general verses of mourning are interspersed with specific references to the circumstances of Nathan's life and death, explained in footnotes. His altendance at the wedding of his eldest son is noted,"the nuptial mirth must yield to grief and woe" as is his desire to be buried in London. Franklin makes particular reference to the Jews' Free School and the Jews' Hospital as recipients of Nathan's charily. Nothing is known of Franklin, though he may be equated with a Jewish merchant of that name, bom in Manchester in 1811 and specialising in Jamaican trade, who died in 1837.

Nathan Mayer Rothschild, obituary, 1837

000/2441, 1 item

Printed Biography and Obituary of Nathan Meyer [sic] Rothschild, Esq, 1837, in a paper cover.