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Outgoing Correspondence

General Letter Copy Books

The series of General Letter Copy Books (XI/148) contain copies of outgoing letters, 1814-1920. These letters were mostly written by NMR clerks and concern routine business.

Regretfully, General Letter Copy Books covering the period 1921-1938 were destroyed in 1941. Another regretful loss is the entire series of Private Letter Copy Books (XI/149). These contained copy letters written by the Partners, and covered the period 1877-1891; 1907-1925.

American business

Letter copy books concerning American business, 1834-1922 will be found in II/10. The scope of the records in  the American Department is wider than the name suggests. Rothschilds' non-European business interests, in Australia, Mexico, China and India, were dealt with by the American Department.

Partners' Private correspondence

A series of unbound Private Letters to the Paris House (XI/130A) covering the period 1906-1914 survive. This series consists of copies of letters sent from New Court to the cousins in Paris, mainly signed by Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild ('Natty'), and occasionally supplemented by letters from his brothers, son and nephews. The content of these letters has been transcribed in its entirety; the transcriptions are available on a Rothschild Archive microsite. 'My Dear Cousins: Writing the New Century'.   

Note on using the General Letter Copy Books

Researchers wishing to consult the original Letter Copy Books are advised to contact the Archive. Most of the copy letters were originally produced using a wet copy process; the quality of the copy thus made can vary enormously and legibility is at times poor. Many of the volumes (particularly those in the XI/148 series) are oversize and in poor condition; there may be limitations on what can be produced in the Reading Room at any one time.

General Letter Copy Books, 1814-1920

XI/148/0-454, 455 volumes

Copies of the house correspondence recording (mainly) routine business are contained in a large series of volumes covering the period 1814-1920. Letter Copy Books XI/148/455-XI/148/472, covering the period 1921-1938 were destroyed in 1941.

There are approximately 250 pages in each volume, onto which are pasted up to six pages of flimsy copies; they are often large, bulky volumes, many in poor condition. The quality of the copy letters varies considerably and the legibility of certain letters is poor. The Letter Copy Books have not been digitised.

455 records available

Foreign loans, Letter Copy Book, 1823-1831

000/715, 1 volume

A single Letter Copy Book of outgoing correspondence concerning Foreign Loans. The volume covers the period February 1823 to December 1831, and contains in manuscript the text of the covering letters sent with invoices and bills of exchange from New Court concerning the receipt of cash, gold and silver for largely Prussian and Russian bonds.

Letter Copy Book New Russian 5% Metallic Stock etc., 1822-1824

XI/218/2, 1 volume

The volume opens with a statement of sums received in May and June 1822 on account of the Russian stock sold by NMR. The content of the volume is more general than the title would suggest, and includes a letter of reference for an unnamed individual wishing to be appointed Tide Surveyor and several letters from J. C. Green, who, in the 1830s, wrote to NMR from Canada.

Telegrams Copy Books, 1881-1921

XI/176/0-67, 68 volumes

From 1881, copies of telegrams, which had been included in the general series of letter books (above), were filed separately in these books.

68 records available

Letter Copy Books 'R', 1825-1827;1899-1920

XI/150/0-23, 24 volumes

All the letters in this series, of which just a fraction survives, are from NMR to the other Rothschild banks and concern the management of the joint business and accounts. The first two volumes cover September 1825 to January 1827 and are manuscript copies in English and German. The volumes from February 1899 onwards are bound, flimsy copies, again in English and German.

24 records available

Private Letter Copy Books 'P', 1877-1891;1907-1925

XI/149/0-9, 9 volumes

The letters in this series are signed by two senior members of staff, Mr Price and Mr Allard Jones, and are concerned with the management of the accounts and estates of members of the family, their relatives and friends such as the Earl of Gosford. The volume XI/149/1 for 1892-1906 is missing (untraced).

10 records available

Private Letters to the Paris House, 1906-1914

XI/130A/0-8, 10 boxes

This series consists of copies of letters sent from New Court to the cousins in Paris, mainly signed by Nathaniel, 1st Lord Rothschild ('Natty'), and occasionally supplemented by letters from his brothers Alfred and Leopold, his son Charles and his nephews Lionel, Evelyn and Anthony. They have survived in spite of a supposed instruction from Lord Rothschild that his correspondence should be destroyed after his death, and sadly represent the only record of the thoughts of the senior partners as expressed to the sister house at this time, as no trace of the original correspondence can be found in the archives of de Rothschild Frères. The letters are concerned with political and financial developments at home and abroad, also recording family events such as the birth of Guy (letter of 24 May 1909). Some stray leaves of the correspondence can be found in particular files in the 'Special Correspondence' series XI/111, and also in the 'Private Letters Sundry' series, XI/109.

Written on flimsy tissue-like paper, these copy letters are fading and in many cases are now very difficult to read. The originals are very rarely produced in the Reading Room.  Thanks to an army of volunteer transcribers, the content of all the letters - over 2,000 letters, some 10,000 pages - has been meticulously recorded, thus ensuring the survival of this unique resource. The transcriptions are available on a Rothschild Archive microsite. 'My Dear Cousins: Writing the New Century'.  A Rothschild Research Forum account is required to access this site. Go to My Dear Cousins » or  Apply for a Rothschild Research Forum account here »

9 records available

Brazilian Agency Letter Copy Books, 1855-1926

XI/142/0-14, 15 volumes

The first letters are written on 28 June 1855, responding to the letters received from the Brazilian Ambassador confirming NMR as the Brazilian Government’s new agents in succession to Goldsmid. Most of the letters in the series concern loans to the Government, shipping of goods, and the management of the account with NMR. The volumes run sequentially, although the original numbering of the volumes is inconsistent; XI/142/11 is not numbered, but is labelled 'P', possibly indicating correspondence about Private Accounts.

English

15 records available

Brazil Funding Scheme Letter Copy Book, 1898-1902

XI/143/0, 1 volume

A small number of letters relating to the Brazilian 5% Funding of over £8.5 million issued in payments of interest and railway guarantees due between 1898 and 1901.

English, French, German

Brazilian Telegrams Letter Copy Books, 1898-1919

XI/8/1-8, 7 volumes

All the business conducted with the Brazilian Government is reflected in these copy books.

English

7 records available

Chilean Letter Copy Books, 1886-1920

XI/144/0-3, 4 volumes

The series opens on 3 November 1886 with fulsome greetings to the Minister of Finance in Santiago on the occasion of the signing of a loan agreement. The letters continue to cover aspects of this and subsequent business with the Chilean Government.

English

4 records available

Egyptian Letter Copy Books, 1878-1920

XI/147/0-4, 5 volumes

All the letters in this series relate to Egyptian business. They are addressed to de Rothschild Frères, NMR's representative in Cairo (Lorent), Rivers Wilson, Finance Ministers and others, mainly in English but with some French and German. Letters cover the convention between the French, English and Egyptians, the sale and mortgage of lands in the Domains and its cultivation. Many of the letters deal with loan repayments and agreements with bondholders. The final book is of letters (all in French) to the Commissaires-Directeurs de la Caisse de la Dette Publique d'Egypte and relates to loan payments.

5 records available

Transvaal Government Letter Copy Book, 1892-1903

XI/153/0, 1 volume

The volume opens with a report to President Kruger on the success of the South African loan of 1892 and much of the subsequent correspondence is concerned with issues arising from this business.

Dawes & Sons Letter Copy Books, 1884-1890

XI/145/0, 1 volume

A handful of letters to the legal firm of Dawes & Sons relating to problems with the estates of clients is preserved in this volume.

Dawes & Sons Letter Copy Books, 1884-1890

XI/145/0, 1 volume

A handful of letters to the legal firm of Dawes & Sons relating to problems with the estates of clients is preserved in this volume.

Deceased Estates Letter Copy Books, 1897-1907

XI/146/0, 1 volume

The letters found in this series correspond to the series listed above as 'Deceased Accounts'.

Telegraphic Code Books

Telegraphic Code Books, 1909-1958

XI/19/1-14 (000/290), 16 volumes, 2 files

Telegraphic code books used by NMR, 1909-1958 (XI/19 series). These volumes list telegraphic codes (usually three digits) and their meanings for example ‘116’ means ‘We will effect shipment and insurance’. The volume XI/19/12 includes instructions for the use of cipher keys.

XI/19/1A: ‘Codigo Telegraphico’, His Excellency, Minister of Finance, Brazilian Government, Rio de Janeiro. Numeric codes: Portuguese copy, compiled for C.H. Wall, 1909 (3 volumes)

XI/19/1B: Telegraphic Codes’, His Excellency, Minister of Finance, Brazilian Government, Rio de Janeiro. Numeric codes, 1909. Copy in English of XI/19/1A.

XI/19/2: ‘Private Code’ Hallgarten & Co., New York. Correspondents' code book (numeric), ‘No. 242’, 1928

XI/19/3: ‘Private Telegraphic Code, N M Rothschild & Sons’, His Excellency, Minister of Finance, Brazilian Government, Rio de Janeiro,  Numeric code. Compiled by NMR, 1929  (2 volumes)

XI/19/4: ‘Private Telegraphic Code, N M Rothschild & Sons’, Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro. Numeric code, compiled by NMR, 1929

XI/19/5: ‘Private Telegraphic Code, N M Rothschild & Sons’, Banco do Commercia e Industria de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo. Numeric code, compiled by NMR, 1929

XI/19/6: ‘Private Telegraphic Code, N M Rothschild & Sons’ copy of David Blair, Valparaiso and T. Gibbons, Santiago. Numeric code, compiled by NMR, 1929

XI/19/7: Credit Anstalt. Vienna. Private numeric code. 1929

XI/19/8: List of figures used in numbering NMR's private code, 1929 edition.

XI/19/9: ‘Private Telegraphic Code, N M Rothschild & Sons’, Chilean Government. Numeric code, compiled by NMR, 1929-1930

XI/19/10: ‘Private Telegraphic Code, N M Rothschild & Sons’, Dillon Read & Co., New York. Numeric code, compiled by NMR, 1929-1930

XI/19/11: Chilean Code Book, Rothschild 'Rothgibb'. Alphabetical code (reversible), May 1934

XI/19/12: Private Test Key and List of Supplementary Cipher Holders. NMR. 1946. Includes includes instructions for the use of cipher keys.

XI/19/13: ‘Private Telegraphic Code, N M Rothschild & Sons’, L.F. Norton, Rio de Janeiro. Numeric code. compiled by NMR, July 1958

XI/19/14: ‘Private Telegraphic Code, N M Rothschild & Sons’,  L.F. Norton. Rio de Janeiro.. Private Supplement. Alphabetical code, compiled by NMR, 1958