League of Nations Archives

Research Guide for the League of Nations Archives

Video tutorials on the League Archives

The UN Archives Geneva team has prepared a series of how-to tutorial on browsing the League of Nations archives and resources available online. These episodes are available on the UN Library & Archives Geneva YouTube Channel, where you may also explore our HiStorieS playlist, a series of educational events delving into the historical impact of the League on modern multilateralism, featuring insights from the League archives.

Navigating the League Archives
A general overview of the League archives content and of the various collections available, including those that are not formally part of the archives of the League, but which can be 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 by mastering the Search Tools. Discover useful tips and tricks to narrow down your search and find the information you seek quickly:

Diplomatic Instruments
Follow through an in-depth 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:
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:
Découvrir la Plateforme des archives de la SdN et des Nations Unies à Genève
A recorded live demo, in French, on how to access and use the League of Nations and UN Geneva Archives platform with our expert archivist:

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.

Finding Aids and the UN Archives Geneva Platform

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

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 browse our Help section, which will provide them with useful tips on how to find relevant sources and documents on our online platform.

Répertoire Général

The Répertoire Général is the principal finding aid for the League of Nations Secretariat archives, as well as for the Refugee Mixed Archival Group (Nansen Fonds) and the External Fonds. The Répertoire was completed in 1969 after a three year project conducted to render the League Archives more accessible to researchers.

The Répertoire 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.

The Répertoire is also divided according to three administrative time periods: 1919-1927, 1928-1932, and 1933-1946.

[Please note that the PDF files above have been processed with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software, and can therefore be searched using the Find or Search features of Adobe Acrobat. Some chapters of the Répertoire had to be split into smaller sections due to file size limitations.]

"Ghebali" Guide

Victor-Yves Ghebali and Catherine Ghebali. A Repertoire of League Serial Documents, 1919-1947. Répertoire des Séries de documents de la Société des Nations 1919-1947. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1973. 2 vols.

Reference work inventorying all series of documents. Detailed introduction on the classification system for the League of Nations documents. 

[Please note that the PDF files above have been processed with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software, and can therefore be searched using the Find or Search features of Adobe Acrobat. The 2 volumes of the "Ghebali" guide had to be split into two sections due to file size limitations.]