WCC Archives

WCC Archives manages, collects, preserves and provides access to the institutional memory of the WCC

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Chalet in Malagnou 17The origins of WCC Archives date back to 1946, two years before the official founding of the WCC, when Dr W. A. Visser’t Hooft, its first General Secretary, launched the idea of an ecumenical library, to serve as a centre for ecumenical study and research and preserve the historical memory of the ecumenical movement. The library began its work with a few hundred books and a handful of documents donated by Visser't Hooft from its personal library, in the little conservatory attached to the "chalet" in the route de Malagnou.





Reading room at Ecumenical Centre 1960sIn 1964, the library and the archives moved to a separate building behind the newly erected Ecumenical Centre in Grand-Saconnex. The premises to host the library and archives had been financed by a donation of Jeanette Watson in 1959, in memory of her husband Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM.

The first professional archivist joined the librarians' team in 1987. In 2003 a generous donation by a well-known financial institution in Geneva permitted to modernize the equipment of the library and the archives and to make the inventories and the catalogs available online. Specialists in audiovisual archives could also be hired for this important project.




Espace ArchivesAfter the consolidation of the library on one single site at the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey in 2012, the archives moved in the newly arranged Espace Archives in a wing of the former library building a year later. Since 2019, the archives are stored in transitory locations in the main building of the Ecumenical Centre.