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Laura Thérèse (Thérèse) von Rothschild (1847-1931)

Laura-Thérèse von Rothschild was the fourth daughter of Mayer Carl and Louise of Frankfurt, in which city she was born on 18 July 1847. She married her French cousin James Edouard (1844-1881) on 11 October 1871, becoming Baroness James Edouard de Rothschild. The couple were well-suited: there was nothing frivolous about him, and Thérèse was a pious, orthodox woman, who never became Parisian.

During the Franco-Prussian war she had cared for French wounded in the hospitals of Frankfurt. In the early years of their marriage, the couple became attracted to Berck-sur-Mer in the Pas-de Calais, a resort famed for its healing properties, and built the Chalet des Oyats near to the hospital they established. In 1881, Thérèse took over management of the hospital, although her son Henri, felt that his mother showed more love and warmth to the patients of the hospital than to him and his sister. Thérèse later published a memoir of her nursing experiences in the First World War, as Souvenirs de la Grande Guerre 1914-1918.

Thérèse inherited some of her father's magnificent collection of silver, which she housed in the Avenue Friedland, as well as her bibliophile husband's collection of rare books, bindings and manuscripts. Under the influence of the scholar Émile Picot, she added to the collection, and authorised the publication of a detailed catalogue, and facsimiles of certain works. Her son Henri later bequeathed this exceptional collection to the National Library of France.

After a long illness Thérèse died in Paris on 9 April 1931.