League of Nations Archives

Research Guide for the League of Nations Archives

About the League of Nations Archives Resource Guide

Welcome to our resource guide for the League of Nations Archives!

This guide is designed as a practical tool intended to facilitate research in the League of Nations Archives. It contains information about:  
  • the holdings and structure of the archive
  • catalogues and guides 
  • research themes, with bibliographies and a selection of primary sources
  • useful databases and online resources
  • links to related collections and further resources

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Copyright Statement

The United Nations provides the materials contained on this web site, including reproductions of items from its collections, for non-commercial, personal, or research use only.

The United Nations holds the copyright for all archival materials produced by the organization and by the League of Nations. However, the United Nations generally does not own rights to secondary or external materials in its collections and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute these materials. It is the patron’s obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the Archives’ collections.

Overview of the League of Nations Archives

Original files of the League of Nations
Secretariat of the League (correspondence and documents); the Refugees Mixed Archives Group (“Nansen Fonds”); Commission files (records of external League offices and entities).

Private Papers
International Peace Movements, 1870-, including the papers of Bertha von Suttner (1843-1914) and Alfred Fried (1864-1921), and the International Peace Bureau (1892-1951); Private Papers (1884-1986) contain materials from League of Nations officials and persons or associations related to the League of Nations, such as Sean Lester, Thanassis Aghnides, the International Association of Journalists, etc.  

The League of Nations documents collection 
Official publications (printed or mimeographed), minutes, working papers and documents of the various League organs.

League of Nations Secretariat Archives

The League of Nations Secretariat archives contain:

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

  • 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

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.