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Special Collections & Archives logo : William Gair Rathbone VII (1849-1919)

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William Gair Rathbone VII (1849-1919)

Portrait of William Gair Rathbone

Eldest son of William Rathbone VIand Lucretia Rathbone

m. 7 Jun 1877 Blanche Marie (1856-1938), daughter of Charles Luling and Elena Michaela (née Longer), of Staten Island, New York.

Two children:
Elena (1878-1964) m. 1913 Bruce Richmond (1871-1964)
William Rathbone VIII (1880-1941) m. 1904 Agnes Dorothea (Dora) Rankin (c.1876-1945)

Following a short period of training with the Rathbone Brothers offices in Liverpool he travelled to New York to represent the firm in America. In 1879 he returned to England to operate with William Lidderdale the new London branch of the firm. He developed several other business interests, including directorships of the Royal Exchange, the London County and Westminster Bank, Parrs Bank, the Hong Kong banking corporation and the P & O Steamship Company.

He also continued the work of his father, William Rathbone VI to promote district nursing, serving for over 20 years as Honorary Secretary of the Queen Victoria's Jubilee Institute for Nurses.

He was a keen patron of the arts, whose correspondents and friends included the artist John S. Sargent. He held musical recitals in his home and helped to launch the careers of Hungarian composer Francis Korbay and Australian musician Percy Grainger.

Blanche Rathbone was one of the original members of the Invalid Children's Aid Association (1888) and later founded the Chelsea branch, of which she was honorary secretary until her death. In 1909 she established a school in Chelsea for physically disabled children.

William [Gair] Rathbone VII in the Rathbone papers

Rathbone papers RP XXV were deposited in the Liverpool University Library in December 1993 by William Rathbone X and represent the papers of his father, William Rathbone IX (also incorporating papers of the families of William Rathbone IX's own father (WR VIII) and grandfather (William Gair Rathbone VII). The papers date from c. 1800-1992 and include:

  • RP XXV.1: General correspondence c. 1850-1985 (c.5000 letters)
  • RP XXV.2: Deeds and accounts c. 1857-1965 (c.120 items) - including deeds and certificates; and papers concerning financial affairs of various Rathbone family members
  • RP XXV.3: Diaries, notes and notebooks c.1847-1990 (35 items) - including MS notes of essays, memoranda etc; diaries and journals
  • RP XXV.4: Property records (c.160 items) - including photographs of Rathbone family properties; correspondence and related papers
  • RP XXV.5: General papers and ephemera (c. 1000 items) - correspondence, photographs, programmes, service sheets, newscuttings and printed ephemera relating to charitable and public works and careers of Rathbone family members, and to social activities
  • RP XXV.6: Business letters 1872-1938 (c.34 items) - includes letters and memoranda concerning business concerns of William Gair Rathbone VII; particularly relating to Rathbone Brothers and the P&O Steamship Co.
  • RP XXV.7: Photographs c.1850-1992 (c. 3000 items) portrait and informal photographs of Rathbone family and friends
  • RP XXV.8: Artwork c.1860-1912 (c.160 items) - original artwork, particularly portrait sketches by Elena Richmond, and reproductions
  • RP XXV.9: Artefacts c. 1860 - 1912 (10 items)
  • RP XXV.10: Historical documents c.1800 - 1971 (c.160 items)
  • - papers of historical interest
  • RP XXV.11: Historical and biographical papers 1890-1987 (c.45 items)- papers on the history of the Rathbone family

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