Researching the League of Nations Archives

A Guide to Consultation and Research Techniques

Finding Aids: Répertoire général and "Ghebali" Guide

The Répertoire général is the principal print finding aid for the League of Nations Secretariat Fonds, as well as for the Nansen Fonds and the External Fonds.
The Répertoire was finalized in 1969 following a three-year project aimed at enhancing accessibility to the League archives for researchers.
It is generally organized according to the sections of the League and contains an index of series or subjects for both Registry Files and the Section Files, divided according to three administrative time periods: 1919-1927, 1928-1932, and 1933-1946.

The "Ghebali" guide is a reference work inventorying all series of official documents of the League of Nations. It provides a detailed introduction to the classification system used for these documents.

Finding Aids and the UN Archives Geneva Platform

There is often some confusion concerning the various print finding aids, such as the Répertoire général and the "Ghebali" guide, and the UN Archives Geneva platform.

While the paper finding aids are tremendously useful to researchers, they remain problematic in several ways. For example, the level of description for one entry in the Réperoire can vary from a single dossier containing one document to a broad series consisting of dozens of files across five or ten boxes. Additionally, the descriptions of the Répertoire do not meet current international standards for archival description and may only provide partial information.

Researchers are encouraged to explore our help section How to use the UN Archives Geneva platform, for valuable tips on locating relevant sources and documents on the platform.

Video Tutorials: How-to Consult the League of Nations Archives

Navigating the League Archives
A general overview of the League archives' content and the various collections available, including those not formally part of the League's archives but potentially useful for your research:


Organization of the Secretariat Fonds
A step-by-step guide on how to access and utilize the League of Nations Registry and Section Files of the Secretariat Fonds by mastering the search tools. Discover useful tips and tricks to narrow down your search and find the information you seek quickly:


Refugees Mixed Archival Group
Explore the complex organization of the Refugees Mixed Archival Group, also known as the Nansen Fonds, which contains a wealth of information on international aid to refugees from 1920 to World War II:


Diplomatic Instruments
Delve into a detailed exploration of the Legal Section of the Secretariat, the Official Documents of the League (including the Treaty Series), and the Conventions, Ratifications, and Diplomatic Instruments Collection:


Découvrir la Plateforme des archives des Nations Unies à Genève
A recorded live demo, in French, on how to access and use the UN Archives Geneva platform with our expert archivist: