League of Nations Secretariat

About the League of Nations Secretariat Resource Guide

The League of Nations Secretariat was one of the main organs of the League of Nations. In addition to its complex administrative work, it tackled a variety of global issues after the First World War, including those related to health, diplomacy, disarmament, social problems, and legal questions. The UN Library & Archives Geneva is very happy to provide unlimited access to its bountiful archives—a treasure trove for researchers—via the UN Archives Geneva Platform.

Since there is so much to explore, this research guide was designed as a practical tool with the aim of aiding your navigation, access, and research. The guide is divided into specific topics written by different specialists. Each section provides fundamental concepts, key personalities, archival material, additional resources, and bibliographical references.

UN Archives Geneva
Economic and Financial Section of the Secretariat

A Fruitful Collaboration to Give Access to Curated Resources

As an instrument of international understanding, the UN Library & Archives Geneva partners with academic institutions for projects that improve and expand access to information resources for all users. 

Since 2021, the UN Library & Archives Geneva and the Saxo Institute, University of Copenhagen, through the research project Laying the Foundations – The League of Nations and International Law, 1919 to 1945 and the sub-project Visualizing the League of Nations Secretariat - a Digital Research Tool, have been collaborating on digital history projects. 

Within this collaboration, this research guide was created as a starting point for researchers, students, and other interested persons to explore and reflect about the League of Nations Secretariat.

Organization of the League of Nations Secretariat Archives

The archives of the League of Nations Secretariat are organized according to the administrative sections that composed the Secretariat.

Each section's archive is organized into Registry Files and Section Files.

  • Registry Files: the archives "proper", containing correspondence, draft documents, and similar materials.

They are divided according to three administrative time periods: 1919-1927, 1928-1932, and 1933-1946. These time periods correspond to a number of administrative changes made at the League, including the separation, creation and elimination of various sections and sub-sections.

  • Section Files: the working papers or office files of the sections, which were kept in a variety of ways and whose contents can vary greatly according to section; typically they may contain press cuttings and/or copies of documents and publications but may also contain substantive materials as well.


An Interactive Digital Research Tool for the League of Nations Secretariat Staff

The University of Copenhagen has developed Visualizing the League of Nations Secretariat (VisuaLeague), a research tool where users can:

  • select, combine and search on nationality, gender, institutional entity, division and position within any given time span of the League’s existence freely
  • visualize statistical representations of one's choices
  • browse and download prosopographical data curated by you.

VisuaLeague is created by the use of the unique personnel files of the League of Nations Secretariat (UN Archives Geneva), and the prosopographical work of the LONSEA project.

To cite

To cite articles or elements from this guide please use this format: Author. "Title of article," in League of Nations Secretariat Research Guide, 2023. Link to specific article

E.g., for the article on the Political Section: Tilsted, Jonas. "The Political Section" in League of Nations Secretariat Research Guide, 2023. https://libraryresources. unog.ch/LONSecretariat/political


This guide is intended to provide selected content from both UN and non-UN sources. It references third-party web sites, books and articles. It does not imply the endorsement of the content by the United Nations.

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