Educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge, from 1889 to 1908 he worked for the family firm of NM Rothschild and Sons, in London, though his greatest passion was zoology, particularly the collecting and taxonomy of birds and butterflies. He participated in, and funded, expeditions across the world to gather specimens, and wrote numerous scientific papers.
Near his country home at Tring Park in Hertfordshire he established his own private zoological museum in the town of Tring, which he opened to the public from 1892. In 1932 he was forced to sell his vast bird collection to the American Museum of Natural History, partly because of financial needs arising due to blackmail by an unknown woman. His collection was one of the world's largest natural history collections, and in 1936 he gifted 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.
Walter Rothschild was a Liberal and Liberal Unionist Member of Parliament for Aylesbury from 1899 to 1910. A notable eccentric, he kept kangaroos in his garden and harnessed a team of zebras to pull his carriage.
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 2nd November, 1917 a letter from Arthur Balfour addressed to "Dear Lord Rothschild" at his London home in 148 Piccadilly set out the Balfour Declaration which committed the British Government to supporting the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.
Walter inherited the peerage from his father Nathan Mayer Rothschild, 1st Baron Rothschild in 1915. 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.
LionelWalterRothschild (1868-1937), 3rd baronet and 2nd Baron Rothschild, pursued a boyhood interest in natural history to an unprecedented conclusion, devoting his life and his fortune to the acquisition and scientific study of the largest zoological collections ever amassed by a single person.
Rothschild was strongly interested in island faunas, geographical distribution and variation, speciation, and extinction of species, all of which play an important role in modern studies of biogeography and in larger issues of ecology and bio-diversity.
Rothschild was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Giessen in 1898, was elected a Trustee of the British Museum in 1899, and was elected a member of the Royal Society in 1911.
Miriam Rothschild was born in 1908 in Ashton Wold, near Oundle in Northamptonshire, the daughter of Charles Rothschild of the famous Rothschild family of Jewish bankers and Rózsika Edle Rothschild (née von Wertheimstein), a Hungarian sportswoman.
Rothschild was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1985 and was made a Dame in 2000.
Rothschild, M (1938b) Observations on the growth and trematode infetions of Peringia ulvae (Penntant) 1777 in a pool in the Tamar saltings, Plymouth.
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