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Salomon Mayer von Rothschild (1774-1855)

Salomon Mayer Rothschild, von Rothschild from 1817, Baron von Rothschild from 1822, was born in his father's house, Hinterpfann, in Frankfurt on 9 September 1774. It is largely due to his diplomatic skills that the Rothschild family were ennobled by the Austrian Emperor.

Salomon's close ties to Metternich were crucial in earning for the family a stake in the restructuring of Europe after the Napoleonic wars. He settled in Vienna after negotiating a lottery loan of 58 million florins to rescue the Austrian Treasury. Salomon funded the first major steam railway to be built in continental Europe, the Kaiser Ferdinands Nordbahn, which opened in 1839. In 1843 he purchased the Witkowitz iron works in Moravia.

Salomon did not find his Viennese base quite so congenial as his brothers' new homes. Prevented as a Jew from owning property in the city, he simply rented the whole of the Römischer Kaiser hotel, which became the base for the firm he founded in his name. After the revolutionary period of 1848 however, Salomon settled into his Parisian château Suresnes, where he died on 27 July, 1855. His wife, Caroline Stern, whom he had married on 26 November 1800, had died in the previous year.

Salomon Mayer von Rothschild, artefacts, commemorative medallion, 1844

000/643, 000/2106, 2 items

Examples of the bronze medallion struck to commemorate the 70th birthday of Salomon von Rothschild, 1844: one bronze medallion mounted in a plaster plaque, entitled 'Industrie'. Presumed to be one of a set, the others being 'Concordia' and 'Integritas'; one bronze medallion without plaster plaque.

Salomon Mayer von Rothschild, correspondence, c.1840

000/1645, 1 item

Letter of introduction for Mr. Beer written from Salomon Mayer von Rothschild to Rudolf Rt. von Vivenot (1807-1884) asking that he be recommended to Count Czernin. Dated 31 January, no year given.

Salomon Mayer von Rothschild, correspondence, 1841-1851

000/2103, 6 items

Letters from to Salomon Mayer Rothschild: letter to a friend with news of an assassination attempt on the Duc d'Aumale, 9 September 1841; letter to 'Dear Friends' [his clerks at the Viennese Bank] enclosing letter from Edmund Goetz Prior zu den Schotten and news of a bid from Sina Bank for a house in the Renngasse and request to find more information from Metternich, 12 August 1844; letter to S M von Rothschild from his devoted servants on his Birthday, 5 September 1844; letter to friends and colleagues with thanks for wishes on his Birthday, Frankfurt 9 September 1844; letter to Wertheimstein, Goldschmidt, Goetzl, Seligmann, Zerkowitz, Bilhuber, Kehrer, Neustueck, Puzin and Holt with thanks for loyalty, Paris 11 June 1845; letter to Viennese employees with thanks for loyalty and good wishes on his 78th Birthday. Paris, 8 October 1851.

Salomon Mayer von Rothschild, correspondence, 1852

000/2283, 1 item

Letter from Salomon to Friedrich Bietherbek, 3 March 1852. In the letter he expresses his regret at his correspondent leaving his employment with the Rothschilds, due to increasingly poor eyesight, having fulfilled his work 'with such diligence and punctuality' and expressing his thanks for Bietherbek's 'accurate knowledge'.

Salomon Mayer von Rothschild, entertainment in honour of his appointment as honorary citizen of Vienna, 1843

000/299, 2 volumes

Commemorative manuscript in two volumes of musical and theatrical entertainment written in honour of Salomon von Rothschild to celebrate his appointment as honorary citizen of Vienna. The civic reception was held on 27 May 1843 and hosted by Moritz Goldschmidt. The entertainment was performed by Goldschmidt's sons and members of the board of the Nordbahn. The music was composed by Professor Joseph Fischhof (1804-1857). The volumes are bound in white decorated calf and fit into a green leather case.

Salomon Mayer von Rothschild, Imperial Letters patent granting the Austrian baronial title and arms to Salomon and his brothers, 1822-1823; 1843

000/275, 1 box

Imperial letters patent granting Austrian Baronial title and arms to Salomon von Rothschild, signed and sealed by Emperor Francis I, 29 September 1822: Velvet bound MS, with an illuminated representation of the family arms; unbound official text copy of above dated 1823; velvet bound illustrated official printed copy, 1843. 

The sons of Mayer Amschel Rothschild were placed on the first rung of the nobility by the Austrian Emperor, Francis I from 1817. An Order in Council of 21 October 1816 granted the brothers the right to armorial bearings, and to use the suffix 'von' in their names. Those members of the family living in Frankfurt and Vienna were thus known as von Rothschild, whereas the Paris, and later the Naples, branches of the family adapted this to the French style 'de'.

Their titles were enhanced to 'Baron' by an Imperial Decree in 1822. The design for the arms included a seven-pointed coronet, a lion, and there were five arrows, the lion and unicorn as supporters, three helmets and a latin motto. The lion was an important concession as far as the brothers were concerned, and they felt that its inclusion in the English Arms was a triumph which helped in the negotiations with the Austrian Heralds. The Barony was granted to the five brothers and their heirs and descendants of both sexes. The description of the Arms is as follows:

Arms: A pointed gold and blue quartered shield with a red central shield, in the middle of which is a right-facing shield; above right on a golden shield is a simple black eagle with open jaws, red outstretched tongue, wings spread, taken from the Arms; above left and below right in the two blue fields comes out of each edge of the shield a bare arm, the hands of which hold five white-feathered arrows with the points downwards; below left on a golden field is an upright natural Lion with open jaws, red outstretched tongue.

Crest: The shield is surmounted by a baronial crown, wound round with small pearls and decorated with five large pearls, topped with three crowns which are surrounded with, on the right, black and gold and on the left blue and silver covering, on top of noble "tournament-style" helmets; from the crown positioned above the visor of the helmet in the centre stands the eagle as described above, the helmets on the right and left are turned towards one another, from the crown on the right helmet floats a golden star between two alternately coloured gold and black buffalo horns, from the crown on the left helmet come three ostrich feathers, viz. two blue and one silver.

Supporters: In the foreground as supporters are, right, an upright golden lion with open jaws, red outstretched tongue, and holding the shield with the forepaws; left a silver unicorn, likewise supporting the arms with front feet.

Motto: Beneath the shield are written on a flowing red and white band the Latin words: 'Concordia, Integritas, Industria' (Harmony, Integrity, Diligence).

It is believed that these documents were originally held by the Rothschild bank in Frankfurt. They were sent to New Court by Joseph Nauheim, a clerk at the London house, who managed the liquidation of the Frankfurt business on behalf of Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild in 1901, where they were held in the New Court vaults, from where they were transferred to the Archive. They have been conserved into one boxed item. 

Salomon Mayer von Rothschild, private papers, 1821-1867

000/573/11, 1 box

Papers concerning the creation of Salomon as a Baron by Emperor Francis I of Austria; papers relating to the purchase of Castle of Suresnes by Salomon; contract of purchase of House Rue Laffitte No. 13, 9 April 1832 and no. 28, 16 November 1830; letter, 2 April, 1833, accompanying a China vase, a present of the King of Prussia to Baron Salomon de Rothschild. 2 April, 1833; decree, 22 August 1842  of Court of Office in Vienna, Permission to buy property in Withowitz, Moravia; address presented to Rothschild, Anselm Salomon by the representatives of Jews in Hungary, 6 July 1842; Address of Jewish Community in Pesth, 15 June 1844; congratulations of German Jewish Community in Vienna, 11 January 1843 and of Turkish Jewish Community in Vienna, 31 January 1843, on the occasion of his receiving the Freedom of the City. This collection originates from a tin trunk labelled “Box 64” in the New Court vaults containing various items selected on grounds of historical interest by an unknown hand. 

Salomon Mayer von Rothschild, private papers, 1843

000227, 1 item

Copy of a play performed in honour of Salomon von Rothschild in Vienna 27 May 1843.  

Salomon Mayer von Rothschild: publications, 1850

000/2649, 1 volume

Printed work 'In Honor of Baron Solomon Rothschild'. The volume is entitled 'The Dust of the World: A Commentary on the Book of Ecclesiastes' by Rabbi Abraham Belais. Printed for the author by the English and Foreign Press. 11, Camomile Street, City [London], 1850. Printed with hard board red cover with gold detail. Printed in both Hebrew and English, the work is printed in honour of Salomon Mayer Rothschild (1774-1855).

Salomon Mayer von Rothschild, secondary sources, n.d.

000/1149, 1 item

Mounted photograph of an oil painting of Salomon Mayer von Rothschild (1774-1855).