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Private family correspondence

Rothschild family letters will be found in many parts of the collections of The Rothschild Archive London.

They will be found in individual accessions, listed under the name of the person writing the letters (see Rothschild Family papers, and then the name of the branch of the family), or as part of larger deposited collections known by the name of the place (often a Rothschild property) from which they were transferred, such as The Exbury CollectionThe Rushbrooke CollectionThe Ascott Collection etc. Private family correspondence has largely been either deposited or gifted to the Archive by members of the Rothschild family, or transferred to the Archive from the New Court vaults, where it had been retained amongst collections of family papers stored with the London bank.

Note on the arrangement of private family letters

The original order of many collections of Rothschild family papers has often been disturbed, both during the time when the collections were privately held, and when they were received into the Archive Department of the NMR, before the creation of The Rothschild Archive.

Much of this disturbance has arisen from classifications imposed on collections of family letters in the 1970s and 1980s; many letters were grouped together in accessions under the name of the person writing the letter; rather than by the name of the person receiving the letter. Such an arrangement is technically incorrect; for example archivally speaking, the letters of Charlotte, Baroness Lionel de Rothschild are not the letters written by Charlotte; they are the letters Baroness Charlotte received (in effect into her own personal archive), and naturally these would be from many different writers. A classification scheme (now largely abandoned) was developed called `RFam'; this created artifical classifications of family letters, in some cases including family letters from series in the business archives of NMR, such as the XI/109 series. 

Identifying family letters

For discrete collections of correspondence relating to a particular family member, please see The Guide entry for that branch of the family, and then under that person's name.

The Archive also holds a small number of collections of letters relating to more than one family member. Listed to the left here are collections of Rothschild family correspondence, which include letters from more than one Rothschild writer or to a number of Rothschild recipients. Some of these are collections of 'autograph letters' acquired by the Archive.

Listed to the left are also discrete collections of letters sent to members of the Rothschid family by 'notable persons'.

Note on transcripts of Rothschild family letters

To aid researchers either unfamiliar with original manuscript sources, or who have limited time for their research, many family letters have been transcribed either in full, or key extracts have been transcribed. Where transcriptions exist, this is noted in the entries in The Guide.

Copies of transcripts can be consulted by registered members of The Rothschild Research Forum in the Reading Room. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that transcripts are accurate, they should not be relied upon exclusively. The Rothschild Archive London accepts no liability for any errors in transcripts it provides of documents in the Archive collection.

Access to private Rothschild papers 

Researchers should note that Rothschild family papers are subject to the Archive's conditions of access. Although records of the Rothschild business up to the date of 1945 are generally accessible to researchers, access to Rothschild family papers is at the discretion of the Archive, and special permission from donors and depositors may additionally be required to access all, or part, of family collections. All family papers later than 1945 are currently closed to researchers.