While we cannot travel much these days, as we work together through COVID-19, we hope this story will take you on a bit of a journey!
Our colleagues Gudrun Beger and Colin Wells, from the Institutional Memory Section at the UN Geneva Library & Archives, join us for a special look into the League of Nations Archives.
Gudrun is Team Analyst and Colin is Project Manager for the LONTAD Project, the Total Digital Access to the League of Nations Archives Project, which upon completion will ensure free access online to, as well as the digital and physical preservation of, the entire archives of the League of Nations.
For this conversation, Gudrun shares a brief history of The World’s Most Traveled Document: our passports and travel IDs. As part of the team working recently on the processing of the Mixed Archival Nansen Fond, they came across examples of some of the very first modern passports and travel IDs issued. Colin also shares some analysis about what we can find in the Archives on these documents, as well as the importance of the Archives collection to our understanding today of our history, the work of the League and some its lasting impacts, and multilateralism as it evolves and moves forward.
Resources and Episode Materials
- The Total Digital Access to the League of Nations Archives Project (LONTAD) will ensure state-of-the-art free online access and the digital and physical preservation of the entirety of the archives of the League of Nations (1920-1946), the first global intergovernmental organization aiming to establish international peace and cooperation, and the predecessor of the United Nations. The League of Nations Archives have been registered since 2009 on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register. Find out more here: https://lontad-project.unog.ch/
- The LONTAD Project Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Digital_Access_to_the_League_of_Nations_Archives_Project
- Learn more about the United Nations Archives at Geneva: https://bit.ly/2WZQuRH
- Find us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/UNOGLibrary and https://twitter.com/lontadinho
- More on the dried bananas mentioned in the episode: the dried bananas were initially sent by a producer of banana flour to the Economic and Financial Section of the League, with a request to include the item in the new unified customs nomenclature. See a photo of the dried bananas below!
Images and Credits
Dried bananas, found in the League of Nations Archives (United Nations Archives at Geneva).
Fridtjof Nansen, Norwegian polar explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace prize laureate. (Wikimedia Commons: Henry Van der Weyd)
Nansen certificate issued in France as an international substitute for a passport, part of the League of Nations Archives (United Nations Archives at Geneva).
Passport of a Russian refugee (Konstantin Wlassoff-Klass) containing numerous German stamps, part of the League of Nations Archives (United Nations Archives at Geneva).
Speakers: Gudrun Beger, Colin Wells and Stefan Vukotic.
Host & Editor/Producer: Natalie Alexander.
Images: United Nations Archives at Geneva (see images for more information).
Sound effects: Via Envato Market (Belle Epoque Waltz and WWI Battle Ambience), Soviet March by Shane Ivers (https://www.silvermansound.com) and World of Brothers Allegretto by Dee Yan-Kee).
Recorded & produced by the UN Geneva Library & Archives.