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History of the ILO

Find information on the history of ILO through Labordoc

  • ILO publications on the history of ILO available in Labordoc, the ILO Digital Repository

Historical Collections

Since its foundation in 1920, the ILO Library has acquired materials on all subjects related to the world of work including social movements, economic development and labour policies. List of historical collections (ILO Website)

Historical Collections

This collection, donated by Albert Guigui to the ILO Library in 1982, focuses on the historical and political context of the labour movement.

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.

This collection contains books, pamphlets and speeches kept by Albert Thomas, the first Director-General of the ILO, as well as a journalist, politician, member of the French cabinet and ambassador. It includes rare works by Albert Thomas himself, including speeches made in his ministerial capacity in France during and after the First World War.

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

This collection is composed of publications of the League of Nations from 1920 - 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 ILO Library in Geneva.

Population Censuses Collection

Over 2000 population censuses from various countries published from 1900 - 1955. Recent population censuses are kept in the Labour Statistics collection.

Rare Book Collection

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).

Russian Newspapers and Journals Collection

Over 900 bound volumes of Russian language newspapers from 1900 -1968, including a number of discontinued periodicals.