Series Pp274 - Sean Lester's Diary

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Sean Lester's Diary


  • 1935-1947 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

2 volumes - 978 p.

Context area

Name of creator

Administrative history

At the heart of the collection is S. Lester's "diary" written between 1935 and 1946 when he served with or for the League of Nations, in Geneva and Danzig. S. Lester kept a considerable number of letters and texts of all kinds during his life. His notes were inspired by minor and major events, the working of the League of Nations, personalities he met, political developments, some family matters, and fishing. They varied in length between a half page and five pages or more, at times on a daily or twice daily basis, followed by periods when nothing was put down. A large part of the journal (1935-1941) was hand-written in note-books, the rest was typed on loose-leafs by S. Lester himself or his secretary, with date and place and often annotated "private", or "secret", or "confidential".

After his death in 1959, and several moves, all of these papers were mislaid and presumed to be lost. However, in 1980 an important part of his journal was found covering much of 1935-1941. These papers were thought to be all that had survived, and were, therefore, copied, bound under the title "Diary" together with some less interesting papers. Subsequently three more batches of papers turned up including the rest of his journal for 1934-1946, and all his other papers from 1929 to 1959.

Archival history

The diary, consisting in two bound volumes, was donated to the United Nations Library in Geneva, Registry, Records and Archives Unit, by Sean Lester's daughters: Dorothy Mary Gageby, Patricia Kilroy and Ann Gorski, in July 1981.

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Content and structure area

Scope and content

This unedited and uncorrected typescript of the diary and papers of Sean Lester covers, in part, the period when he was League of Nations High Commissioner in Danzig (1935-1937), Deputy Secretary-General (1937-1940) and Secretary-General (1940-1947, by decision of the General Assembly in 1946) of the League of Nations in Geneva.

The material bound in this "Diary" is by no means complete, even for the 1935-1941 period. Some time after the "Diary" was bound, a further box of papers, covering most of S. Lester's life, was found, including: private diary entries, general S. Lester's notes, correspondence, press, etc. In fact, some of the most important papers for 1935-1941 were found and are not therefore in the "Diary" - for instance as regards the 1936 crisis.

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Language of material

  • English

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    Notes area


    Protection period to: 2007-12-31
    Creation date remarks: 1 letter, included in the bound volume 2, is dated 5 August 1958

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    Reference Code

    Pp 274

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        Archivist's note

        Responsible employee: Blukacz-Louisfert Blandine (UNOG Library)

        Archivist's note

        Protection period duration: 60

        Archivist's note

        Protection period note:

        Archivist's note

        Permission: No permission necessary.

        Archivist's note

        Physical usability: Without limits

        Archivist's note

        Term of protection: None

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