Graphical version

British Library of Political and Economic Science

League of Nations Union


Reference code(s): GB 0097 LNU

Held at: British Library of Political and Economic Science

Title: League of Nations Union

Date(s): 1918-1971

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 155 volumes and 5 boxes

Name of creator(s): League of Nations Union


Administrative/Biographical history:

The League of Nations Union (LNU) was formed by the merger of the League of Free Nations Association and the League of Nations Society, two groups working for the establishment of a new world order based upon the ideals of the League of Nations. It became the largest and most influential organisation in the British peace movement, played an important role in inter-war politics, and launched education programmes that had a lasting impact on British schools. The LNU's popularity dwindled during World War Two, and when the United Nations Association (UNA) was founded in 1945 to promote the work of the United Nations, the LNU arranged for the wholesale transference of its organisational structure and its membership to the UNA. However, under the provisions of its Royal Charter, the LNU was able to continue until the mid-1970s, albeit in a limited capacity, in order to handle bequests, and administer the payment of pensions to former employees. The administrative structure of the LNU consisted of a General Council, which met twice a year and held final responsibility for LNU policy under the Royal Charter of Incorporation granted in 1925; an Executive Committee, which met every two weeks and co-ordinated campaigns, analysed branch reports and resolutions, monitored the work of the numerous specialist sub-committees, supervised the staff, and generally acted as the central policy-making body of the LNU; and regional LNU branches, which had their own independent management structures.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the League of Nations Union, 1918-1971, including minutes of the General Council, 1919-1945, with some background papers; minutes of the Executive Committee, 1918-1946, including some minutes of its predecessor, the League of Free Nations Association; minutes of the Organisation Committee of the League of Free Nations Association and the LNU, 1918-1919; minutes of the LNU Administration Committee, 1936-1939 and 1944; minutes of the LNU Management Committee, 1918-1929; financial material, namely minutes of the Finance Committee, 1922-1938, and accounts, 1945-1975; material relating to specialist committees and sub-committees of the LNU, 1918-1957, notably the Advisory International Committee, 1940-1941, the Appeals Committee, 1930-1936, the Branches Committee, 1930-1939, the National Youth Committee, 1933-1936, the Christian Organisations Committee, 1921-1939, the Council for Education in World Citizenship, 1940-1944, the Economics Committee, 1928-1939, the Editorial Committee and the Publicity Committee, 1925-1938, the Education Committee, 1919-1939, the Industrial Advisory Committee, 1930-1944, the International Policy Committee, 1919-1925, the Overseas Committee, 1931-1939, the Refugees Committee, 1935-1939, the Regions Committee, 1930-1937, the Religious Ethics Committee, 1921-1930, the Research Committee, 1918-1919, the Services Committee, 1931-1932, the Women's Advisory Committee (later Council), 1937-1957, and the Standing Committee of National Youth, 1935-1939; material relating to branches of the LNU, namely the British Universities League of Nations Society, 1926-1936, the Geneva Institute of International Relations, 1925-1938, the Hampshire Federation of the LNU, 1932-1938, and the London International Assembly, 1941-1945; pamphlets, reports and leaflets produced by the LNU, [1918]-1962; miscellaneous material removed from the volumes of minutes and retrieved from the United Nations Association collection, [1919]-1971, including papers relating to the LNU Peace Ballot, [1934-1935], the transfer of the LNU membership to the UNA, [1945-1946], and the LNU Youth Groups.


Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The collection mainly comprises bound volumes, though there are also publications and loose documents (mainly reports and duplicate minutes) removed from the bound volumes, as well as material recovered from the United Nations Association collection.

Conditions governing access:

This collection has been microfilmed and the originals withdrawn from public use for preservation purposes. The microfilm must be used. Apply to Archivist for originals.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright retained by the United Nations Association. Microfilm copies only.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Printed handlist and online catalogue available.


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

The records of the League of Nations Union were kept at its headquarters in Grosvenor Crescent until financial difficulties forced the Union to move to smaller premises in St Martin's Lane in the early 1940s. The records went to the home of Geoffrey Mander, where many of them were destroyed during the Blitz, and the remainder were removed to the United Nations Association headquarters at the Albert Embankment.

Immediate source of acquisition:

The collection was deposited in the Library by the UNA in 1971, with a further accession in 1985.


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Microfilm made available by the Follett Preservation Microfilming Project, 1999. Films are held on open access in the library (Archives MF 416-445).

Related material:

The British Library of Political and Economic Science also holds the records of the United Nations Association (Ref: UNA).

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Sources: Who's Who 1897-1996 (A & C Black, 1996); British Library On-Line Public Access Catalogue 97; Historical Manuscripts Commission National Register of Archives. Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Jan 2001

Foreign policy | Foreign relations | International relations
International organizations | International politics
International security | State security
Pacifism | Political doctrines
Collective security x International security

Personal names

Corporate names
British Universities League of Nations Society
Geneva Institute of International Relations
League of Nations Union x League of Free Nations Association x League of Nations Society
United Nations Association

Canada | North America
Czechoslovakia | Eastern Europe
Germany | Western Europe | Europe
Hampshire | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Hemel Hempstead | Hertfordshire | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Hungary | Eastern Europe
Italy | Western Europe | Europe
London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Romania | Eastern Europe
Russia | Eastern Europe
South Africa | Southern Africa
USA | North America
Yugoslavia | Eastern Europe
Crimea x Krym
Asia and the Pacific
Middle East