Since its foundation, international history has been one of the Graduate Institute’s key disciplines. Over the years, the Library has developed a rich collection in the field, constituted from acquisitions and donations.
The Library’s development policy primarily reflects the teaching and research activities of the International History Department, with the overall theme of "history before and beyond the nation and between nations". Special focus is placed on contemporary history and more particularly on:
The historiographical approach is also essential.
The geographical range includes Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, as well as East-West relations.
The Library also acquires more general works offering a historical, sociological, political or economic analysis of a country.
The Library also holds former special collections on the Soviet Union – the Boris Souvarine Papers – and other socialist states.
It has built up an extensive collection of documents on non-written sources of contemporary history, originally gathered by Professor Yves Collart, a pioneer in the field.