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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 810

Papers of Gertrude Newmark Rothschild, 1913-2011


Photographs and personal and professional correspondence of Gertrude Neumark Rothschild, advocate for women in science, and professor of material sciences and engineering at Columbia University.


  • Creation: 1913-2011

Language of Materials

Materials in English or German or Italian.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Unrestricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Gertrude Neumark Rothschild is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1.67 linear feet ((4 file boxes) plus 8 photograph folders, 1 photograph folio folder, 2 folio+ folders)

Series I, PHOTOGRAPHS,1913-2008, n.d. (#PD.1-PD.9f), includes photographs of Gertrude and Henry Rothschild and family members, as well as Gertrude Rothschild in groups with others.

Series II, PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL,1914-2011, n.d. (#1.2-4.6, F+D.1), includes biographical information about Gertrude Rothschild; passports and various certificates (birth, marriage, death) of family members; school notebooks and an autograph album from her time in Europe; correspondence, etc., re: her undergraduate and graduate careers and her later appointments at Columbia University; professional correspondence; and letters to Gertrude from her mother and husband. Some of the earlier letters discuss her studies and insistence on pursuing her scientific work and how to balance it with her relationship with Henry (see #3.13). Henry's letters mostly concern his travels (particularly by air), people he meets, and his work in Asia, Europe, and South America.

Series III, HOCHSCHILD FAMILY AND FIRM,1940-2001, n.d. (#4.7-4.9, F+D.2), contains a typescript and a published volume concerning Dr. Mortiz (Mauricio) Hochschild and his business enterprises in Bolivia, and a family tree.

Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be digitized and available online.


Professor of materials science and engineering, Gertrude Neumark Rothschild was born in Nuremberg, Germany, on April 29, 1927, the daughter of businessman Sigmund and Bertha Neumark. Her family was Jewish and fled Germany in 1935, living in Italy and Cuba before coming to the United States in 1939. She graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College (1948), and earned a master's degree from Radcliffe College (1949), and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Columbia University (1951). In 1950 she married Henry Rothschild, who had worked with Mauricio Hochschild, a mining entrepreneur in Bolivia, and who was a commodities trader at Philipp Brothers in New York. Gertrude Neumark Rothschild worked at Sylvania Research Laboratories (1952-1960) and at Philips Laboratories (1960-1985) before joining the faculty at Columbia in 1985. Many of her patented processes led to the development of blue and ultraviolet LEDs (light-emitting diodes) and other improvements in consumer products such as flat screen TVs and mobile phones. She was forced to defend many of her discoveries against patent infringements over the course of her career, and was successful in wresting $27 million in settlements and licensing fees from more than 40 companies. "I just want recognition for the work that I did, and I want to show that women can do science," she said. Her contributions to science and her pioneering role as a woman engineer were recognized by the establishment of the Henry and Gertrude Rothschild Professorship in 2005, and a professorship in the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics (both at Columbia University) in 2008. She died in Rye, New York, of heart failure in 2010.


The collection is arranged in three series:

  1. Series I. Photographs, 1913-2008, n.d. (#PD.1-PD.9f)
  2. Series II. Personal and professional, 1914-2011, n.d. (#1.2-4.6, F+D.1)
  3. Series III. Hochschild family and firm, 1940-2001, n.d. (#4.7-4.9, F+D.2)

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 2014-M155, 2014-M118

The papers of Gertrude Neumark Rothschild were given to the Schlesinger Library by the Gertrude Neumark Rothschild estate in August 2011 and July 2012.


Donor: estate of Gertrude Neumark Rothschild

Accession numbers: 2014-M155, 2014-M118

Processed by: Anne Engelhart

The following item has been added to the book collection (pending review by the curator):

  1. The Visiting Professorships for Women Program: Lowering the Hurdles for Women in Science and Engineering (final report), National Science Foundation, n.d.

Processing Information

Processed: October 2014

By: Anne Engelhart

Rothschild, Gertrude Neumark, 1927-2010. Papers of Gertrude Neumark Rothschild, 1913-2011: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by a gift from estate of Gertrude Neumark Rothschild.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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