The International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS) or le Comité international des sciences historiques (CISH) was founded in Geneva on May 15, 1926. During the fifth International Congress of Historical Sciences in Brussels 1923, an idea emerged for a permanent organization that would unite and organize intellectuals in the historical sciences from around the world in order to promote contact and personal exchange. In fact, international congresses of historians had been held at sporadic intervals since 1900. However, after the First World war it became necessary to replace these scattered assemblies by more regular meetings, organized by a stable institution, which would allow historians to present their methods and the results of their research. At its inception in 1926, the ICHS included only nineteen countries, all of which were either European or North American.

After the Second World war, which severely disrupted the institution’s structures and infrastructures, the ICHS reorganized at the International Congress of Paris in 1950 and has continued to develop ever since. Its influence now extends to Asia, Africa and South America. Today, the organization encompasses a total of fifty-three countries.

Various documents

Archives of the ICHS

In the wake of the publication of the English translation of Karl Dietrich Erdmann’s book and on the eve of the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the ICHS, the publication in the Bulletin of the archival guide for the two main repositories of ICHS archives seemed a good idea. The Archives nationales de France in Paris hold the bulk of the Secretary General’s archives, since 1950 principally. The whole collection is accessible without restrictions as of 1 January 2006. Researchers should also look into the Fonds of the Comité français des sciences historiques (70 AJ) for other documents.
The Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire de Lausanne, presently housed at the Université de Lausanne, hold the collection of papers of the Treasurers and other documents. Unfortunately the inventory is not available, but the classification guide provides an overview of its contents.
ICSH archives were used extensively by the late Professor K. D. Erdmann and his research assistant, Ms Agnes Blänsdorf when preparing the original 1987 edition. Ms Blänsdorf has also produced an updated bibliography of sources in the current English edition of the volume.
Finally, as a reminder, note that the Secretariat of ICHS has no archives but the current documents of ICHS.

Fonds du International Committee of Historical Sciences des Archives nationales de France (C.I.S.H.)

105 AS 1-513 (1923-2000) Répertoire numérique détaillé
Par Laetitia Bilhaut, Maîtrise d’Histoire, Université de Picardie Jules Verne et Magali Lacousse , Conservateur adjoint, sous la direction de Christine Nougaret, Conservateur général et Magali Lacousse, Conservateur adjoint Paris – Centre historique des archives nationales – 2001

Bibliothèque cantonale et universitaire de Lausanne (FR)

Cadre de classement des archives du CISH déposées à la Bibliothèque cantonnale et universitaire de Lausanne

Bibliography : Karl Dietrich Erdmann, Toward Global Community of Historians. The International Congresses and the International Committee of historical sciences 1898-2000, Berghahn Books, 2005