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Historical Collections

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Since the ILO's foundation in 1919, the Library has sought out and preserved materials on all subjects related to the world of work including social movements, economic development and labour policies.

The following collections are held in the ILO Library in Geneva. It is possible to search the collections using Labordoc.

Albert Thomas collection

Select to magnify the imageThis collection contains books, pamphlets and speeches kept by Albert Thomas, the first Director-General of the ILO, on a variety of subjects, including labour policy and politics. It includes rare works by Albert Thomas himself, including speeches made in his ministerial capacity in France during and after the First World War. Mr. Thomas was also a journalist, politician, member of the French cabinet and ambassador.

Guigui collection

This collection, donated by Albert Guigui to the ILO Library in 1982, focuses on the historical and political context of the labour movement, with particular emphasis on the Second World War and social justice issues.

Albert Guigui, a French metalworker born in Algeria, was also an editor, film technician, militant anarchist and ardent trade unionist. He worked in Europe, Russia and the United States from 1915 to the 1940s. A member of the resistance during the Second World War, he participated in the Philadelphia Conference of the ILO in 1944 and after the war joined the organization full time.

International Management Institute collection

The library of the former International Management Institute (1927-1933) contains the classics of scientific management and related literature published in the inter-war period from both Europe and overseas in various languages.

League of Nations collection

The Library holds a small collection of publications of the League of Nations for the period 1920 to 1945. The collection is organized by series and includes official memoranda and conference proceedings.

International Labour Office of Basle

The foundation of the Library of the Labour Office of Basle dates from 1901, the year in which the International Association for Labour Legislation was formed at a meeting held in Basle. The ILO purchased the library collection in 1920 and it formed the basis of the new ILO Library in Geneva.

Population Censuses collection

A collection of over 2000 population censuses from various countries published between 1900 to 1955. Recent population censuses are kept in the Labour Statistics collection.

Rare Book collection

This collection includes over 400 rare books and pamphlets that date back to the 18th century, beginning with "The encouragement and increase of seamen consider'd in a letter to a member of Parliament" (1728) (PDF 1457 KB).

Russian Newspapers and Journals collection

The collection of bound Russian language newspapers includes volumes published from early in the 20th century until 1968. The collection contains over 900 items and it includes a number of discontinued periodicals.

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Last update: 15.06.2012^ top