Salomon Mayer von Rothschild
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Salomon Mayer von Rothschild
|Born||9 September 1774|
|Died||28 July 1855|
|Occupation||Banker, art collector, philanthropist|
|Known for||Founder: S M von Rothschild|
|Board member of||S M von Rothschild, de Rothschild Frères, Paris|
|Children||Anselm Salomon, Betty Salomon|
|Parent(s)||Mayer Amschel Rothschild and Gutlé Schnapper|
He was born at Frankfurt-am-Main the third child and second son of Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744–1812) and Gutlé Schnapper (1753–1849). In 1800, he married Caroline Stern (1782–1854). They had the following children:
- Anselm Salomon (1803–1874)
- Betty Salomon (1805–1886) - married her uncle James Mayer de Rothschild in 1824.
His father had built a hugely prosperous banking business in Germany. Wanting to expand the family business across Europe, the eldest Rothschild son remained in Frankfurt, while each of the other four sons were sent to different European cities to establish a banking branch. Salomon von Rothschild was made a shareholder of the de Rothschild Frères bank when it was opened in Paris in 1817 by brother James Mayer de Rothschild.
Trained in finance and with years of experience, in 1820 Salomon Rothschild was sent to Austria to formalize the family's existing involvements in financing Austrian government projects. In Vienna, Salomon von Rothschild established S M von Rothschild. The business financed the Nordbahn rail transport network, Austria's first steam railway, plus funding various government undertakings where large amounts of capital had to be raised. He made connections amongst the country's aristocracy and its political elite through Prince Klemens Metternich and Friedrich von Gentz.
Under the direction of Salomon von Rothschild, the Viennese bank was highly successful, playing an integral role in the development of the Austrian economy. In recognition of his services, in 1822 Salomon Mayer Rothschild was made part of the Austrian nobility when Emperor Francis I awarded him the hereditary title "Freiherr" (Baron). In 1843, he became the first Jew to ever be given honorary Austrian citizenship.
Endogamy was an essential part of the Rothschild family's strategy for future success in order to ensure that control of their businesses remained in family hands. Therefore, in 1824 Salomon Mayer Rothschild's daughter Betty married her uncle James Mayer de Rothschild, head of the Paris bank.
Salomon von Rothschild's personal wealth was enormous and he acquired extensive properties and made investments in art and antiquities. Despite the fact that he made substantial contributions to philanthropic causes, the concentration of vast wealth by the few members of the Austrian elite resulted in a growing civil unrest in the country.
By the time of the revolutions of 1848 in the Habsburg areas, anti-Rothschild sentiments were frequently being voiced and written about in broadsheets such as Ein offener Brief an Rothschild. With the fall of Metternich, Salomon von Rothschild lost some of his political clout and his bank a considerable amount of money.
Under pressure, the 74-year-old handed over the reins of the bank to his son Anselm but it was not without rancor. He left Vienna and retired in Paris where he died in 1855. From his collection some of the objets d'art from the Italian and French Renaissance together with 18th-century works were donated to the Louvre including two paintings by Carlo Dolci.
- The Rothschilds; a Family Portrait by Frederic Morton. Atheneum Publishers (1962) ISBN 978-1568362205 (1998 reprint)
- The Rothschilds, a Family of Fortune by Virginia Cowles. Alfred A. Knopf (1973) ISBN 978-0297765387
- Rothschild: The Wealth and Power of a Dynasty by Derek Wilson. Scribner, London (1988) ISBN 978-0684190181
- House of Rothschild : Money's Prophets: 1798-1848 by Niall Ferguson. Viking Press (1998) ISBN 978-0140240849
- The House of Rothschild (vol 2): The World's Banker: 1849-1999 by Niall Ferguson. Viking Press (1999) ISBN 978-0670887941