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Welcome

Welcome to the Guide to the Collections of The Rothschild Archive

The Rothschild Archive London is an independent charity. The purpose of the Archive is to collect, preserve and promote the archives of the Rothschild businesses and family. The Trustees of The Rothschild Archive Trust administer the Archive as an independent charitable trust in purpose-built premises made available within the offices of the London business.

History of the collections 

It was Victor, 3rd Lord Rothschild, who, in 1978, with the encouragement of the historian J. H. Plumb, then Master of Christ's College, Cambridge, took the first steps towards putting the records of the London business in order so as to make them available to the research community. An Archivist was appointed and work began on sorting the records and systematising procedures for access. 

In 1999, the Board of Directors of N M Rothschild & Sons Limited, under the Chairmanship of Sir Evelyn de Rothschild, formally gifted the contents of the Archive Department of the London business (consisting largely of the historic business archives of the London house, N M Rothschild & Sons Limited) to a newly established body of Trustees. At the same time, responsibility for the collection of papers of the French business, deposited with the Archives Nationales du Monde du Travail was transferred to the Trustees. 

The collections were now administered under a newly established body of Trustees, making The Rothschild Archive London an independent charitable trust. The Archive now houses, alongside the records of the London banking house (which themselves include often detailed correspondence from the continental houses in Frankfurt, Paris, Vienna and Naples), the papers of de Rothschild Frères, held by the Archives Nationales du Monde du Travail in Roubaix, and surviving records of the branches of the businesses in Germany, Italy and Austria.

The Rothschild Archive Trust administers the Archive as an independent charitable trust in purpose-built premises made available for the purpose within the offices of the London business. With a growing awareness of The Rothschild Archive's purpose and increasing confidence in its potential, the scope and scale of the Archive have gradually broadened as donations and deposits of further papers concerning the activities and history of the Rothschild family have been received. Since 1999, The Archive has also been fortunate to attract deposits of family papers and artefacts from members of the Rothschild family. The Archive has also purchased archives, artefacts and publications, and the Rothschild businesses have continued to transfer material to the Archive.

Scope of the collections

The records of the London firm, N M Rothschild & Sons, and papers of the French bank of M M de Rothschild Fréres form the core of the Archive collection, reflecting the activities of the other Rothschild banks through many series of correspondence and accounts that circulated between them.

The Archive in London houses the records of the London banking house (which themselves include often detailed correspondence from the continental houses in Frankfurt, Paris, Vienna and Naples), together with deposits of family papers from members of the Rothschild family that the Archive has been fortunate to attract, reflecting their estates, collecting tastes and interests.

The papers of de Rothschild Frères, are held on deposit at the Archives Nationales du Monde du Travail in Roubaix, France.

The Guide

This Guide to the collections of The Rothschild Archive describes the 'collection of collections' of The Rothschild Archive. As resources allow, the online Guide will be updated and expanded to provide greater detail about the collections. In this online Guide, descriptions of records dated later than 1945 may be given to indicate that a series continues beyond 1945. The inclusion of such descriptions does not mean that these records are available for consultation.

A free text search of Guide entries may be made by typing your search term in the 'Search the site' box at the top of this page. Please note that there is no context to search results, and that searching on a broad term, for example 'gold', will produce a large number of results. Alternatively you may browse the descriptions of records in each section.

Access to the collections

Researchers should note that access to the collections are subject to the Archive's conditions of access. Business records up to the date of 1945 are generally available for public consultation. 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. Applications to consult some parts of the collection that are available after 1945, or family collections, must be made in writing to The Director of The Rothschild Archive.

Browse the sections above to access information about records of the five banking houses, and the Rothschild family. Researchers should note that in the Guide, descriptions of collections may be given; the inclusion of such descriptions does not mean that these records are available for consultation.