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Henri James Nathaniel Charles de Rothschild (1872-1947)

Henri James Nathaniel Charles de Rothschild, the son of James Edouard and Laura Thérèse, was born on 26 July 1872. After the death of his father in 1881, Henri and his sister Jeanne spent a confined childhood with their mother who was keen that they should have a strong sense of public duty. Both children were familiar with the Rothschild hospital, dispensary and other amenities at Berck-sur-mer, established by their father James Edouard (1844-1881) and Henri went on to study medicine.

To his mother's astonishment, Henri married Mathilde de Weisweiller, one of Jeanne's friends, on 22 May 1895. They became a glamorous feature of Parisian life, a world in which Mathilde was particularly at her ease. The couple had three children, James, Nadine and Philippe. In later years they lived quite separate lives. Henri played a minor role in the fortunes of the Paris bank, serving as a director of the Nord Railway, the family's major rail interest.  An early interest was motor sport; from 1901 Henri de Rothschild (1872-1947) sponsored the Coupe Rothschild for the Nice motor race. Between 1901 and 1903 the race was won by Léon Serpollet, and at the race in April 1902 he reached 120.8 kph, breaking the world speed record. His car, a 100hp Serpollet, was nicknamed 'the Easter egg'. The 1903 race is commemorated in tiles on the facade of the former Michelin building, Fulham Road, (London, 1911).

Literature and the arts

Henri developed his interests in the arts, as essayist, playwright, and co-creator with his son Philippe (1902-1988) of the Pigalle theatre in Montmartre, always wreathed in the smoke from his Gaulois cigarette, as Philippe remembered. See the Moscow papers (58 series) for drafts of his dramatic works; see Rothschild family papers: papers of institutions: Le Théâtre Pigalle, for sundry publications relating to the theatre.

Henri was a keen yachtsman and motorist and formed a collection of Têtes de mort, which was bequeathed to the Musée des Arts Decoratif. His collection of rare books autographs was presented to the Bibliothèque National de France.

Medicine

Henri de Rothschild became a medical practitioner specialising in infant medicine and nutrition, publishing over 100 papers and making substantial practical contributions to the field. He experimented with the pateurisation of milk and established a system of free distribution of milk for the needy, and other practical projects to improve public health. During the First World War, while in charge of the military hospital at Soissons, he invented a portable burns unit for use in battle zones. After the war, in 1919 he became one of the founders of the Curie Foundation. 

His support for healthcare was also practical. In 1872, Henri’s father, James Edouard founded a hospital at Berck-sur-mer in the Pas de Calais which he named after his late father, Nathaniel. The hospital took on a therapeutic role in the treatment of tuberculosis, and James Edouard’s vision was supported and further developed by Henri; the Berck dispensary was founded in 1892 at Henri’s request. A wide range of medical services were established such as dentistry and surgery, although the dispensary specialised in the care and nourishment of infants. This aspect of the service became independent in 1904, in which year alone 192,741 litres of sterilised milk were dispensed. In 1894, Henri built a hospital in the rue Marcadet in Paris, with 100 beds, the first stage of the creation of what was to become the Mathilde-Henri de Rothschild Foundation. The foundation was renamed in 1929, after a thorough reconstruction, in memory of Henri's wife. The polyclinic was equipped with the most up to date facilities of the time.

Henri spent most of the war years in Lisbon, where he began to work on his memoirs, published as Croisières autours de mes souvenirs, and a further volume, Croisiere autour de mes souvenirs: mes maitres et mes amis a la Faculte et dans les hôpitaux. Henri died in Lausanne in 1947.

Archive sources

The Archive holds few of Henri's private papers and correspondence. The Moscow Papers (58 series) contain a number of files relating to Henri, see 58-1-221; 406-446. Henri's files include drafts and proofs of his plays, many of which were written under the name Andre Pascal, but there is also general correspondence with companies regarding Henri's medical and pharmaceutical interests.

The Archive does not hold copies of all of Henri's published works, although the Archiove collection includes copies of both volumes of his memoirs. A comprehensive list of all his published works, including plays, memoirs and scientific publications will be found here Rothschild bibliography: Henri de Rothschild. Copies of published works in the Archive collection are listed below, in order of publication date.

For further information Henri’s life and work, see Henri de Rothschild, 1872–1947: Medicine and Theater by Harry W. Paul (London: Routledge, 2011).

Henri de Rothschild, 'Hommage au Docteur Henri de Rothschild, 22 Mai 1905. A l'occasion de sa nomination de Chevalier de La Legion d'Honneur', 1905

000/2721/16, 1 volume

Hommage au Docteur Henri de Rothschild, 22 Mai 1905. A l'occasion de sa nomination de Chevalier de La Legion d'Honneur. A Tribute to Doctor Henri de Rothschild, May 22, 1905. On the occasion of his nomination as 'Chevalier of the Legion of Honor'.

Henri de Rothschild, catalogues of manuscript collections, 1932; 1933; 1949; 1951

000/1949; 000/2345/1-2; 000/2596/2; 000/2721/17, 5 items

Three volumes describing the extensive manuscript collections of Henri de Rothschild:

  • Catalogue des Manuscrits de Bossuet de la Collection Henri de Rothschild, Jean Porcher, Paris, Emile-Paul Frères and Henry Darel, 1932; (2 copies)
  • Trois Cents Autographes de la Donation Henri de Rothschild, Catalogue de L'exposition, (Éditions des Bibliothèques Nationales de France, 1933); 
  • La Bibliothèque Henri de Rothschild. Livres Précieux Manuscrits - Dessins, Julien Cain, Jean Porcher, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1949);
  • Copy of La Revue Française, Christmas 1951, with an illustrated article entitled 'Trésors de la Collection Henri de Rothschild à la Bibliothèque Nationale', by J. Porcher.

Henri de Rothschild, 'Coupe Rothschild' motor race, Nice, 'La Vie Illustre', 1903

000/1947/3, 1 item

Copy of La Vie Illustre, 22 May 1903, containing an article about motor-racing and 'La Coupe Henri de Rothschild a ete gagne par Leon Serpollet'. An early interest of Henri de Rothschild was motor sport; from 1901 he sponsored the 'Coupe Rothschild' for the Nice motor race. Between 1901 and 1903 the race was won by Léon Serpollet, and at the race in April 1902 he reached 120.8 kph, breaking the world speed record. His car, a 100hp Serpollet, was nicknamed 'the Easter egg'. The 1903 race is immortalised in tiles on the front of the former Michelin building in Chelsea, London, opened in 1911 as the first permanent UK headquarters and tyre depot for the Michelin Tyre Company Ltd. The decorative tiled panels depict famous racing cars of the time that used Michelin tyres and feature a racing car, entitled "Nice 1903, Coupe Rothschild, Serpollet". 

Henri de Rothschild, secondary sources, 'Voyage en Norvège', c.1920 [1999]

000/1488, 1 VHS cassette

Arthur de Rothschild (1851-1903) acquired his steam yacht 'Eros' in 1875, After his death, 'Eros' passed to his nephew, Henri. When 'Eros' sank off the Swedish coast in 1922 after hitting a reef, Henri built a new 1,000 ton 'Eros' II', with a crew of 33 and every luxury for the glittering array of friends from the theatre who regularly cruised in it.

Video tape of black and white film from the Archives du film du Centre nationale de la Cinématographie, France, entitled 'Voyage en Norvège' (Voyage to Norway). The film features the yacht 'Eros', images of people on board dining and acting out theatrical dramas, views of mountains and fjords, shots of a poolside with bathers.

Plays

Henri developed his interests in the arts, as essayist, playwright, and creator of the Pigalle theatre in Montmartre, always wreathed in the smoke from his Gaulois cigarette, as his son Philippe remembered. He wrote plays under his own name, ands also under the pseudonym André Pascal.

Henri de Rothschild: plays, 'La Rampe', 1913

000/625, 1 volume

La rampe: pièce en quatre actes, by Henri de Rothschild. Illustrated by Maurice Leloir, engravings by Leon Boisson, includes engravings by R. Gilbert of Henri, (Paris: 1913). Set in the world of the theatre, it is one of his Henri's dramas to end unhappily, with the suicide of the heroine. La rampe was first published in L'illustration théâtrale November 1909 as a three act play. A subsequent limited edition of two hundred copies contained illustrations by Maurice Leloir and engravings by Léon Boisson (Paris: L. Carteret, 1913). A new version was written between December 1925 and July 1926 (Paris: Émile-Paul Frères, 1927). A separate limited edition of 230 copies, entitled La rampe: nouvelle version contained a preface by René Lara and illustrations engraved by Carle-Dupont, after unpublished originals by Largillière, Marillier, Choffard and Seve in the Library of Baron James de Rothschild (Paris: Francisque Lefrancois, Librairie de la Société des Bibliophiles François [sic], 1927). Published in German as Die Rampe (Berlin, 1910). First performed at the Théâtre du Gymnase, 19 October 1909. 

Henri de Rothschild, plays ' Le Filleul', 1916

000/2721/1, 1 volume

Le Filleul: comédie en un acte, Andre Pascales (Henri de Rothschild), (Paris : Levy Fils (printer), 1916). Sketch of how a married couple revive their affection for one another through wifely guile.

Henri de Rothschild: plays, 'La Confession', 1918

000/2721/2, 1 volume

La Confession: comédie en un acte, Andre Pascales (Henri de Rothschild), (Paris: Librairie Théâtrale, 1918)

Henri de Rothschild: plays, 'Une femme d'aujord'hui', 1918

000/2721/3, 1 volume

Une femme d'aujord'hui: comedie en un acte, Andre Pascales (Henri de Rothschild), (Paris: Editions Emile-Paul Frères, 1918). Romance set in a military hospital, treating in a lightly ironic manner the question of principles and the extent to which they should be adhered to.

Henri de Rothschild: plays, 'Le Talion', 1914

000/2596/1, 1 volume

Le Talion: comédie en trois actes, by Henri de Rothschild, (Librairie Théâtrale, Paris, 1914). Dedicated to Juliette Margel from 'son auteur et son ami Henri de Rothschild', it was first performed on 4 April 1914 at the Comédie-Marigny, directed by A.Deval, and restaged at the Théâtre-Michel on 21 April 1914, directed by Michel Morlier. Set in the world of the theatre, the play presents the conflict between emotional and professional demands imposed on the emancipated woman. A divided couple are happily reconciled at the end.

Henri de Rothschild: plays, 'Le Plus Grand Amour', 1920

000/528, 1 volume

Le Plus Grand Amour, by André Pascal (Henri de Rothschild), (Protat Frères (printer), Paris, 1920). The dedication reads: 'Ce tirage, qui est de cinquante exemplaires, est destiné uniquement aux études de répétitions et de mise en scène'. ['This edition, which is fifty copies, is intended only for rehearsal and staging studies'].

Henri de Rothschild: plays, 'Le Caducée', 1921

000/2594, 1 volume

Le Caducée: piéce en quatre actes, by André Pascal (Henri de Rothschild) (L'Illustration, Paris, 1921). Published by Henri de Rothschild, writing under the pseudonym André Pascal, Le Caducée [the Caduceus] is set in the medical world, a tragedy illustrating the unscrupulous practices of medical consultants towards their wealthy patients. The play's title comes from the caduceus, a staff carried by Hermes in Greek mythology, and Mercury in Roman mythology.

Henri de Rothschild: plays, 'L'affaire Juliette', 1924

000/2721/4, 1 volume

L'affaire Juliette: comédie en un acte, Andre Pascales (Henri de Rothschild), (Paris : no publisher, 1924). First performed at the Théâtre Daunou, 14 January 1925. Light comedy, set in a newspaper office: mystery of the anonymous contributor to a daily journal.

Henri de Rothschild: plays, 'Tout s'arrange', 1925

000/2721/5, 1 volume

Tout s'arrange: comédie en trois actes et quatre coups de téléphone, Andre Pascales (Henri de Rothschild), (Paris, Daunou, 1925). First performed at the Théâtre Daunou, 14 January 1925.A light-hearted treatment of the marriage of convenience as a framework for illicit liaisons.

Henri de Rothschild: plays, 'La Vocation', 1927

000/2721/6, 1 volume

La Vocation: pièce en quatre actes, Andre Pascales (Henri de Rothschild), (Paris: Editions Emile-Paul Frères, 1927). Performed for the first time at the Théâtre de la Renaissance, 18 November 1926.Reworking of the theme from Le talion, changing the setting from that of the theatre to the medical profession. Here a female doctor is faced with the conflict between her emotions and her professional interests. Unlike Le talion, this play ends on a note of tragedy.

Henri de Rothschild: plays, 'Prise', 1929

000/2721/7, 1 volume

Prise, Andre Pascales (Henri de Rothschild), (Paris : Editions de la Galerie Pigalle Paris,  1929). André Pascal, assisted by Albert Jean, Philippe de Rothschild and Gaston Baty First performed at the Théâtre de l'Avenue, 21 May 1929, a three act play based on The spider by Fulton Oursler and Lowell Brentano.

Henri de Rothschild: plays, 'Le grand patron', 1931

000/1285, 1 volume

Le grand patron: pièce en trois actes, by André Pascal (Henri de Rothschild). A play published in La Petite Illustration no. 527 (Théâtre no. 276) 9 May 1931. The article contains the text of the play, some photographs from a production, and an extract from reviews. It was first performed at the Comédie des Champs-Elysees, 7 February 1931. A separate edition was also published (Paris: Émile-Paul Frères, 1931) with preface by the author. It was translated into Portuguese as O mestre, and performed at the Teatro Avenida, Lisbon, in 1940.

Memoirs

Henri de Rothschild: memoirs, 'Souvenirs d'Espagne', 1890

000/2397, 1 volume

Souvenirs d'Espagne, Avril 1889-Mars 1890, Henri de Rothschild, (Paris: Protat Frères (printer) Macon, 1890). The dedication reads: 'À la mémoire de mon cher et regretté maître et ami G.-M Hariet, avec qui j'ai eu le bonheur de visiter quelques sites de l'Espagne'. A limited edition consisting of 325 copies. The bibliography to Cinquante ans de souvenirs lists a work entitled Voyage en Espagne produced in Paris for private circulation in 1889. Collected impressions of two consecutive Easter holidays in Spain, published in order to inspire a wider public with an enthusiastic appreciation of the Spanish temperament.

Henri de Rothschild: memoirs, 'A travers les pays scandinaves', 1890

000/2721/15, 1 volume

A travers les pays scandinaves, ('Through the Scandinavain countries'), Henri de Rothschild, (Paris: Imprimerie L. Danel Lille 1890). Henri de Rothschild, with preface by by Leo Claretie. Dedicated to the author's grandmother, Baroness Nathaniel de Rothschild. Notes recorded in a travel journal kept by the author during a tour of Scandinavia, giving impressionistic glimpses of the country, people and culture. A new edition was published in the same year (Paris: Imprimerie Chaix, 1890). 

Henri de Rothschild: memoirs, 'Notes africaines' , 1896

000/1611, 1 volume

Notes africaines, Henri de Rothschild (Paris: Calmann Lévy, 1896). The book is based on Henri's notes from his visits to Algeria and Tunisia. The dedication reads: 'À ma chère femme'. An engaging and familiar account in colourful prose compiled from daily notes made on three consecutive trips to Algeria and Tunisia, conveying the reactions of a cultured Parisian in North Africa.

Henri de Rothschild: memoirs, 'Croisière Autour de mes Souvenirs' and ' Croisiere Autour de mes Souvenirs: mes maitres et mes amis a la Faculte et dans les hôpitaux', 1932; 1936

000/2397; 000/2721/9-11, 4 volumes

Henri de Rothschild: volumes of memoirs:

  • Croisière Autour de mes Souvenirs, Henri de Rothschild, (Paris: Éditions Emile-Paul Frères, 1932). The first published part of Henri's autobiography, from early childhood to his marriage in 1895 includes biographical profiles of his father James Edouard (1844-1881), his uncle Arthur (1851-1903), his grandparents Charlotte (1825-1899) and Nathaniel (1812-1870) and his great-grand-uncle James Mayer de Rothschild (1792-1868). 3 copies. [Note: a transcribed and translated copy in English of the text, made at the request of Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild (1910-1990) will be found in 000/2173).
  • Croisiere Autour de mes Souvenirs: mes maitres et mes amis a la Faculte et dans les hopitaux, (Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1936). This second volume of autobiography covers Henri's medical training and early years as a qualified doctor. This volume gives biographical portraits and anecdotes of the professors and colleagues he encountered at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris and at the various hospitals in which he worked, including Paul Poirier, Georges Dieulafoy, Pierre Budin and Alfred Fournier. 

Henri de Rothschild: memoirs, 'Tour du Monde', 1936

000/2596/3, 1 volume

Tour du Monde, Henri de Rothschild, (Librairie Hachette, 1936). A detailed record of a world cruise undertaken by Henri aboard the 'Empress of Britain' in 1935, taking in India, Indo-China, Japan and California. It includes chapters on Angkor Wat, Japanese geishas, Hollywood and dinner with Charlie Chaplin.

Henri de Rothschild: memoirs, 'Une dame d'autrefois', 1946

000/1617, 1 volume

Une dame d'autrefois: la Baronne Mathilde-Henri de Rothschild (1872-1926), Henri de Rothschild, (Lausanne: Imprimeries Réunies, 1946). A biographical tribute dedicated to the life of Henri's wife, Mathilde, written 20 years after her death, the work includes much of Henri's own autobiography. It was published in Switzerland, shortly before Henri's death.

Publications

Listed here are published works (other than dramatic plays) by Henri de Rothschild, held by the Archive, including memoirs, travelogues and scientific publications and reports. The works are listed in date order of publication.

The Archive does not hold copies of all of Henri's published works. A comprehensive list of all his published works, including plays, memoirs and scientific publications will be found here Rothschild bibliography: Henri de Rothschild.

Henri de Rothschild: publications, 'Bibliographica Lactaria', 1901

000/993, 1 volume

Bibliographia lactaria: bibliographie générale des travaux parus sur le lait et sur l'allaitement jusqu'en 1899, by Dr Henri de Rothschild (Octave Doin, Paris, 1901). The volume is a complete bibliography of published works on infant nutrition, milk and infant feeding. Divided into three sections: general analysis of milk; infant feeding; and international patents. with a preface by M. E. Duclaux.

Henri de Rothschild: publications, 'L'Industrie Laitiére au Danemark', 1904

000/2398, 1 volume

L'Industrie Laitiére au Danemark, Production et commerce du lait; Alimentation des vaches; Sociétèies de controle; Écoles de laiterie; Législation relative a la margarine;  Fabrication et exportation du beurre. Rapport adressé a M. le Ministre de ‘’Agriculture par le Dr Henri de Rothschild, Chargé d’une mussion du Ministère de l’Agriculture, Dr Henri de Rothschild, (Paris: Octave Doin, 1904). The work is a report to the French Ministry of Agriculture concerning the Danish dairy industry with reference to the production and trade in cow's milk; the diet of cows; dairy schools; legislation on margarine; and the manufacture and export of butter.

Henri de Rothschild: publications, 'Reflets de la vie: nouvelles', 1907

000/2721/8, 1 volume

Reflets de la vie: nouvelles, Henri de Rothschild, 1907. Fiction: 'Reflections of Life', eleven short stories of contrasting style and content. The dedication reads: 'À ma chère Mathilde'. Also published in a limited edition of twenty-four copies.

Henri de Rothschild: publications, 'Catalogue des volailles, canards, oies', c.1925

000/1284, 1 volume

Catalogue des volailles, canards, oies produced by the Domaine des Vaulx de Cernay, c.1925. Contains photographs of hens, ducks and geese in their living conditions.  It was an initiative of Henri de Rothschild, to help improve French agriculture, and functioned as part of an agricultural research institute. 

Henri de Rothschild: publications, 'Documents sur la vie et l'oeuvre de Chardin', 1931

000/2721/14, 1 volume

Documents sur la vie et l'oeuvre de Chardin, (Paris: Editions de la Galerie Pigalle, 1931). Henri James Nathaniel Charles de Rothschild Edited by Andre Pascal and Roger Gaucheron. Biographical portrait of the French artist Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin (1699-1779), through selected contemporary biographies, correspondence and reproductions of his paintings. Henri had a fine collection of paintings by Chardin, and staged an exhibition of Chardin's work at the gallery on the ground floor of his theatre, the Pigalle, in 1929.

Henri de Rothschild: publications, 'Les Autographes de Pierre Corneille', 1929

000/1073, 1 volume

Les autographes de Pierre Corneille reproduits pour la premiere fois en fac-simile d'apres les originaux de Paris, Rouen et Londres, Henri de Rothschild, (Editions de la Galerie Pigalle Paris 1929). Facsimiles of twenty of Corneille's letters, from Henri's autograph collection, accompanied by transcriptions in the original orthography and with editorial notes. Pierre Corneille (1606-1684) was a French tragedian, generally considered one of the three great seventeenth-century French dramatists, along with Molière and Racine.

Henri de Rothschild: publications, 'Comment j'ai réuni ma collection d'autographes', 1933

000/1287, 1 volume

Comment j'ai réuni ma collection d'autographes, Henri de Rothschild (Conférence faite à la Bibliothèque nationale, 1933). A copy of the text of a lecture given by Henri at the Bibliothèque Nationale, 28 June, 1933 on the occasion of the donation of his collection of autographed manuscripts. The text is a biographical sketch of Henri's father, James Edouard (1844-1881), followed by an autobiographical account of Henri's education and initiation into the collection of literary manuscripts. Includes a manuscript dedication from Henri.

Henri de Rothschild: publications, 'Un bibliophile d'autrefois', 1934

000/2593, 1 volume

Un bibliophile d'autrefois. Le Baron James-Edouard de Rothschild 1844-1881, by Henri de Rothschild (Librairie E.Droz, Paris, 1934). Dedicated to Henri's bibliophile father, the volume describes his life and his love of books and culture, and his book collections. Illustrated with black and white plates. One of an edition of 250 copies.

Henri de Rothschild: publications, 'Les timbre-postes et leurs amis', 1938

000/2721/12, 1 volume

Les timbre-postes et leurs amis, Henri de Rothschild, (Paris: Theodore Champion, 1938). Introduction to the realm of philately for beginners, providing a general historical background of the pursuit together with guidelines and advice for the novice collector. Includes a biographical portrait of Arthur de Rothschild, ranked among the world's leading philatelists.

Henri de Rothschild: publications, 'Cent ans de bibliophilie 1839-1939: la Bibliotheque James de Rothschild', 1939

000/2721/13, 1 volume

Cent ans de bibliophilie 1839-1939: la Bibliotheque James de Rothschild (Paris: published privately by the author, 1939). Illustrated descriptions of Baron James Mayer de Rothschild's library of antiquarian books of old manuscripts.

Henri de Rothschild: publications, 'La lignée française de la famille de Rothschild', 1943

000/1626, 1 volume

La lignée française de la famille de Rothschild 1792-1942: étude historique et biographique, Henri de Rothschild, (Porto: Costa Carregal, 1943). The work is a historical and biographical study of the French lineage of the Rothschild family, 1792-1942; 1792 is the date of the birth of James Mayer de Rothschild (1792-1868), who first went to Paris in 1812 and founded the French banking house. It was published in Portugal in 1943, where Henri had gone to escape Nazi persecution.