Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild

Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild

infobox person
name = Lionel Walter Rothschild

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Lionel Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild (February 8, 1868 – August 27 1937), a scion of the Rothschild family, was a British banker, politician and zoologist.


Walter Rothschild was the firstborn son and heir of Lord Nathan Rothschild, the first Jewish peer in England. [ Pen Ultimate / Sticking my neck out - Haaretz - Israel News ] ] At the age of seven, he declared that he would run a zoological museum. As a child, he collected insects, butterflies and animals. Among his pets at the family home in Tring Park were kangaroos and exotic birds. At 21, he reluctantly began working for the family bank. His parents established a zoological museum as compensation, and footed the bill for expeditions all over the world to seek out animals.

Rothschild was 6.3 ft. tall and very shy, but he had his photograph taken riding on a giant tortoise, and drove a carriage harnassed to 6 zebras to Buckingham Palace to prove that zebras could be tamed.

Zoology career

Rothschild studied zoology at Magdalene College, Cambridge and worked for the family firm of N M Rothschild & Sons in London from 1889 to 1908. Meeting Albert C. L. G. Günther sparked his interest in the taxonomy of birds and butterflies.

As the first to describe a certain subspecies of giraffe with five horns instead of two, the Giraffa camelopardis rothschildi was named after him. It is the most endangered of the nine subspecies, also known as the Ugandan or Baringo Giraffe. Fact|date=July 2008 Another 153 insects, 58 birds, 17 mammals, 3 fish, 3 spiders, 2 reptiles , 1 milliped and 1 worm also carry his name.

Rothschild opened his private museum, housing one of the largest natural history collections in the world, to the public in 1892. In 1932 he was forced to sell part of his butterfly collection to the American Museum of Natural History after being blackmailed by a woman. In 1936 he donated the rest of the collection to the Trustees of the British Museum. The Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum at Tring is now a division of the Natural History Museum. Fact|date=July 2008

Political career

Walter Rothschild was a Liberal and Liberal Unionist Member of Parliament for Aylesbury from 1899 until he retired from politics at the 1910 general election.

Zionism and the Balfour Declaration

As an active Zionist and close friend of Chaim Weizmann he worked to formulate the draft declaration for a Jewish homeland in Palestine. On November 2, 1917 he received a letter from the British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour, addressed to his London home at 148 Piccadilly, in which the British Government declared its support for the establishment in Palestine of a national home for Jews, later known as the Balfour Declaration.


Walter inherited the peerage from his father Nathan Mayer Rothschild, 1st Baron Rothschild in 1915. He died in 1937 in Hertfordshire aged 69. He had no children, and his younger brother Charles Rothschild had predeceased him, so the title was inherited by his nephew (Nathaniel Mayer) Victor Rothschild.



*Miriam Louisa Rothschild. "Dear Lord Rothschild". (Hutchinson, 1983) ISBN 0-09-153740-1

ee also

*History of the Jews in England
*Extinct Birds

External links

*" [ The Avifauna of Laysan and the Neighboring Islands with a complete history to date of the birds of the Hawaiian possession (1893-1900)] " Walter Rothschild. From Smithsonian Institution Libraries
* [ Walter Rothschild Zoological Museum]
* [ Lecture on Walter Rothschild]
* " [ Extinct birds.] " London, England: Hutchinson and Co., 1907.

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