Rothschild family business correspondence
Correspondence between members of the Rothschild family and the various Rothschild houses, is contained in several series. The divisions between the series are not watertight, but as far as possible, they have been described below according to the location of the majority of the senders in the order: Frankfurt, Paris, Vienna and Naples. Non-family correspondence will be found at the end. Letters in a number of languages will be found in virtually all the series, but the predominant languages are noted in the descriptions.
Correspondence from M. A. von Rothschild & Sohne, 1805-1902
XI/86/0-38, 90 boxes
Some of the few surviving letters in the hand of Mayer Amschel Rothschild himself can be found here and many of the letters include statements of drafts and remittances.
The earliest letters concern shipments of textiles, indigo and gold, in addition to drafts and remittances, and they include invoices for consignments of gold. There are a number of references to trading conditions during the period of the Napoleonic war. There are a small number of duplicates of letters from Bederus von Carlhausen to Notten & Co. within the series. As the series progresses, it contains much more routine material.
German, English, Judendeutsch, French
M. A. von Rothschild & Sohne private letters, 1837-1849; 1865-1866; 1886
XI/105/0-11, 10 boxes
This series contains letters from the Frankfurt partners as well as from members of the family temporarily stationed in the city. The letters are primarily in Judendeutsch until 1844. There is no correspondence in the series for 1841 and 1847-1848, but similar letters can be found in XI/87 and XI/109, from which this series may have been compiled by an unknown hand.
Judendeutsch, German, English
Correspondence from Amschel Mayer, 1808-1848
XI/82/9, 1 box
Letters from Amschel Mayer to the Rothschild family: Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt.
Correspondence from Willy Carl and Mayer Carl von Rothschild, 1847-1865
XI/82/8, 1 file
Correspondence from the sons of Carl von Rothschild, who took over the management of the Frankfurt business after the death of their uncle Amschel. Willy Carl's letters deal with some English stocks belonging to his wife, Mathilde in 1850, his "little" private account and other private routine business matters. Amongst the letters from Mayer Carl are some discussing the family business after the death of his father, Carl, in 1855.
Correspondence from Rothschild and related family, 1804-1818
XI/82/10, 1 file
Correspondence from Rothschild and related family (Schnapper, Cohen, Hanau, Stern families).
Business Correspondence from de Rothschild Frères, 1810-1914
XI/85/0-101, 216 boxes
James Mayer de Rothschild (1792-1868) was in Paris from the age of 19, co-ordinating the purchase of specie and bullion for his brother Nathan (1777-1836). Between 1814 and 1815 he was the lynchpin in Nathan’s plan to supply Wellington’s armies with funds. Originally trading as J M Rothschild, James changed the name of the firm to de Rothschild Frères in 1817. By 1823 the Paris House was firmly established as banker to the French government. After the death of his brother Nathan in 1836, James took over the reins of the family firm and became the trusted adviser of ministers and kings. The Paris House continued to fund many loans to European governments, but the decline in public sector borrowing led James to concentrate on new lines of business. These included the financing of raw materials trading, railway construction and manufacturing industries. This diversification was continued when James’ sons, Alphonse (1827-1905), Gustave (1829-1911) and Edmond (1845-1934), became partners in the bank.
These letters are mostly from Paris, but the earliest correspondence is marked Berlin, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Gothenburg. The letters deal with day-to-day business and give some details of loans and shipment of bullion (especially for Wellington in the early letters). Some pages of accounts, schedules of bills remitted and drafts of dividends are included.
Judendeutsch, German, English, French
Business Correspondence from de Rothschild Frères, 1915-1935
XI/85/102-126 (000/855), 44 boxes
A continuation of correspondence from M M de Rothschild Frères in the XI/85 series.
Correspondence from de Rothschild Frères, 1837-1918
XI/101/0-104, 41 boxes
This series consists of correspondence from the French Rothschilds in Paris to their cousins in London. The letters concern business and finance, giving detailed reports on new loans, the state of stocks and shares in railways, mines, state loans, and daily news of the Bourse. The international political situation is widely covered, with of course, particular reference to French politics, including various ministerial crises and the Dreyfus affair. There is also some discussion of Jewish affairs with references to pogroms and the oppression of Jews in Eastern Europe. In addition there is some information about the personal affairs of the Rothschild family: references to births, marriages, deaths, illnesses, trips abroad and the entertaining of state figures. These relate to the French and English Rothschilds, and occasionally to members of the family in Germany. Personal interests and pursuits outside banking can be glimpsed in chance references.
These include horse racing (in the latter part of the 19th century there are yearly reports on the French and English Derby), cars, the telephone, hunting and shooting, and, for example, Alphonse's attendance at a banquet for mayors in his official capacity as president of the Chemin de fer du Nord. The date range of this series is 1837-1842; 1878-1918. Correspondence covering 1843-1877 does not survive. For the outgoing correspondence from the London house see XI/130A/0-8.
Correspondence from de Rothschild Frères, 1840-1841
XI/104/0-1, 2 boxes
This series consists of letters mostly from Paris, but also from Frankfurt and the Hague. Although the majority are from the Rothschilds themselves (Anselm, Nat, Anthony and one or two from Charlotte and James), letters from some associates are also found here. They relate especially to business interests, such as railway projects and quicksilver mining as well as the financial markets. There are also references to some personal and political affairs, including Moses Montefiore's visit to Damascus at the time of the Damascus Affair. One letter from James refers to paintings by Rembrandt and Murillo in which there is family interest. Among those discussed in the letters are Poisat (with whom the Rothschilds operated refining concerns), Palmerston, Montefiore and the Duke of Nemours.
French, English, German
Correspondence from James de Rothschild, 1822
XI/82/4, 1 file
Twenty letters from James in St Petersburg relating to the 1822 Russian Loan. Those from James to NMR are in German, but there are copy letters in English to and from James. Scans available.
Correspondence from Anthony de Rothschild, 1836
000/184, 1 box
During his apprenticeship in Paris, Anthony wrote to his parents and brothers a series of rather brief letters on the state of the business, particularly giving comments on the stocks and the quicksilver business. Occasionally, there is general comment, such as on the Cristinos/Carlist conflict in Spain.
Correspondence from Paris, 1839
XI/103/0, 1 box
The major correspondents in this series are Anselm and Anthony, with some contributions from the ladies of the family, including Betty and Hannah.
Correspondence from Paris, 1840
XI/104/0, 1 box
In the year of the Damascus Affair, this event dominates the political aspect of a correspondence that mixes business and family news in equal measure. The correspondents - Anselm, Nat, Anthony, Charlotte, especially - give details of the lifestyle of a family which has reached the height of its influence. A homesick Nat, visiting Paris and his future wife, remarks, "Last night we said the prayers like good and pious Jews, but the singing is far better on the other side of the water and the regularity of emptying ones glass not nearly so great as with us." (18 April 1840).
Private Correspondence from S. M. von Rothschild Vienna, 1837-1841; 1843
XI/107/1-6, 2 boxes
The series consists of letters, mostly in Judendeutsch, from Salomon in Vienna, although other members of the family are also represented. There are frequent references to the Rothschilds' agent in Spain, Weisweiller. Some of the correspondence relates to business in Portugal and there is correspondence with the Portuguese Treasury (a few letters from the Treasury are in Portuguese) including letters from Pereira and Joas d'Oliveira. Also in the series are some letters from and concerning the United States, and there are letters relating to Hambro and to the American agent Belmont. The fifth piece of this series, corresponding to the year 1842, is missing.
Judendeutsch, English, French, Portuguese
Correspondence from S. M. von Rothschild in Vienna and Paris, 1802-1920
XI/87/0-33, 67 boxes
This bulky correspondence is concerned with the routine house-to-house business, advising on the opening of credits for individuals and on remittances and drafts etc. Very occasionally private letters from the family have been filed within this series.
German, Judendeutsch, English
Correspondence from S. M. von Rothschild in Vienna and Paris, 1921-1935
XI/87/34-48 (000/868), 19 boxes
A continuation of the correspondence from S M von Rothschild in the XI/87 series.
Correspondence from Carl Mayer von Rothschild, 1814-1848
XI/82/1, 1 box
A series of just over one hundred letters from Carl to his brothers. The majority of the letters date from between 1814 and 1818, and the correspondence continues with one or two letters from odd years, concluding with a handful from 1848. Subjects frequently discussed are the Prince of Hesse-Cassel's finances and the family's concern for Jewish civil rights.
Correspondence from Adolphe von Rothschild, 1851-1861;1863-1900
XI/83/0-4, 11 boxes
The letters in the first part of this series, 1851-1861, concern Adolophe's account with NMR. From 1863 until around 1866, the correspondence deals with business affairs relating to the Naples firm. Thereafter, the letters are written from Paris, Geneva and other locations and their subject matter is primarily Adolphe's account. All the letters from 1900 relate to Adolphe's estate, many of them being signed by his widow, Julie.
German, English, French
Correspondence from C. M. de Rothschild & figli, 1815; 1817; 1818; 1821-1863
XI/84/0-8, 27 boxes
Carl Rothschild's correspondence in this series up to 1821, the year in which he settled in Naples, relates to his activities on behalf of the family firm in the years of Waterloo and immediately after. Much of it is written to Nathan in English, some of this by Rothschild employee John Roworth. After the establishment of the Naples house, the correspondence gradually becomes more impersonal and Carl's own postscripts in Judendeutsch become rarer. Most of the correspondence is in German by the early 1830s.
German, English, Judendeutsch
Correspondence from Anselm Salomon von Rothschild, 1830-1859
XI/82/2, 1 box
Over three hundred letters from Anselm to Nathan, mainly from the years 1830-31, written from Berlin. Ninety-six letters cover the period 1832-1859 and are written from several places including Copenhagen, mainly to his English cousins. Some of the letters from the mid-1830s are addressed to the English House.
Correspondence from Nathan Mayer Rothschild, 1802; 1806; 1814-1815
XI/82/7, 1 box
The first group in this series is a handful of letters from Nathan in Manchester in 1802 and then from Nathan in London in July 1806, addressed to his employees in Manchester, mainly explaining the reasons for his delay in returning to Manchester. The second bundle of material consists of duplicates of accounts between J. C. Herries, Nathan, James and Salomon relating to the purchase of silver bars etc., in 1814 during the operation to supply coin to Wellington with which to pay his troops during their campaign against Napoleon.
Finally, there are over one hundred letters from Nathan in 1814, and occasionally from his employees, Roworth and Hinton, to James and to Meyer Davidson in Amsterdam concerning advices of remittances, bullion shipments and instructions from Herries. The letters from 1815 number around 250, and are addressed to James, Carl and Salomon and Meyer Davidson variously in Hamburg and Amsterdam about purchase and delivery of specie for the British Government to pay troops and subsidies to European allies.
Correspondence from Lionel and Nathaniel de Rothschild, 1831-1832
XI/82/6, 2 files
Most of the letters from 1831, the smaller portion of the parcel, are from Nathaniel to Nathan, written from Naples and Rome, and dealing mostly with routine business transactions occurring during Nat's apprenticeship with his uncle Carl in Naples.
Lionel's letters to his parents are all from Paris and contain a good deal of political news in addition to the business reports. Letters from both correspondents amount to one hundred in total.
Private Correspondence Sundry, 1814-1913
XI/109/0-148, 176 boxes
This series contains private family business correspondence of the Rothschild brothers and Rothschild partners. In spite of several significant gaps, including the lack of any letters between 1854 and 1860, and a very thin file for the entire period 1819-1825, this series has been judged by researchers as central to an understanding of Rothschilds' business in the nineteenth century. The earliest files, from 1814 to around 1818, consist solely of letters in Judendeutsch from Amschel, Salomon, Carl, James and Anselm, and these continue to dominate the series until 1854. When the series recommences, James is the only surviving brother, but he continues to write in Judendeutsch to his nephews in London. Other major threads within the series are the letters from Nat and Alphonse in Paris, both survivals from the series XI/101 (see description above), Mayer Carl's letters from Frankfurt and Anselm's letters from a number of places. Letters from Weisweiller & Bauer, Madrid agents, are filed within this series for the years 1843-1854, 1861-1867, 1869-1871 and 1873-1876, and substantial quantities of letters from Scharfenberg and Schaumbourg, confidential clerks in the Paris house, may be found. Occasional strays from the named correspondents' series, such as the Davidsons, will also be found here. In the files for the early 1880s, some copy letters from Natty to his French cousins survive, whereas the main series for these letters, XI/130A, exists only for the years 1906 to 1914.
Many other correspondents also feature in the series: family, close friends and business contacts, as well as a number of letters from art dealers, political contacts, and those in search of financial aid from the family. Some boxes are missing; see detailed box listing for further information.
Regretfully, copies of the outgoing private correspondence does not survive; Private Letter Copy Books (XI/149), containing copy letters written by the Partners, covering the period 1877-1891 and 1907-1925 are known to have been destroyed in the 1920s.
English, Judendeutsch, French, German