The Archives Catalog offers finding aids that describe our records which are the documentary evidence of all of the business activities of the Bank. The finding aids assist researchers when making a request for access to records which are organized into groupings called fonds. Browse the thematic lists below or click on the “Search Our Finding Aids” button. For further guidance, visit the Using Our Finding Aids page.
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General Management and Administrative Units
The records in these fonds primarily relate to non-lending activities such as external liaison, operations policy, and resource mobilization.
Regional Vice Presidencies
Regional Vice Presidencies are responsible for lending operations, including project identification and supervision, economic and sector work, and country relations.
Sector departments were created as part of a Bank-wide reorganization in 1972. Responsibilities include sector policy development, operational support and review, and subject matter expertise.
Includes records relating to consultative groups that the World Bank sponsors or for which it serves as the secretariat. Consultative groups consist of public, private and/or international organizations that coordinate and raise funds for technical assistance and research.
Sector Vice Presidencies and Networks
Sector Vice Presidencies were responsible for coordinating and guiding the work of sector departments, the units responsible for sector policy and best practice development, staff training, and other non-operational activities.
Personal Papers and Non-Bank Records
Personal papers and non-Bank records include records that have not been in the continuous custody of the World Bank since their creation.
Individual Staff Members
The individual staff member fonds contains records that were accumulated by individual staff from the various offices in which they served. Because the records cover the individual’s work in more than one office, the records cannot be assigned to a fonds for a single office.
Reference Collection on World Bank Group History
The Reference Collection contains copies of records from other repositories that relate to the history of the World Bank Group.
Complete List of Fonds
The complete list of fonds consists of all of the descriptions in thematic groupings.
Exhibit: The World Bank's Role in the India Consortium
This exhibit explores how the India Consortium was established, what role the Bank Group played, and how it established a model for subsequent consortia. Inventory lists containing lists of related records are included as part of the exhibit.
Video: Dig Deeper into the World Bank Archives
A short introduction to online resources that will help you prepare an access to information request or access digitized archival records online.
Exhibit: A Bold Vision to Defeat River Blindness
This exhibit recounts how WBG President Robert McNamara's vision of eradicating onchocerciasis became a reality. Inventory lists that accompany the exhibit provide lists of related records originating in units from across the Bank Group.
Exhibit: Bretton Woods and the Birth of the Bank
On July 1, 1944, delegates from 44 nations met in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to agree on a new system of international cooperation. Learn more about this historic meeting and view folder lists of related archival records.
Central Files Description
The departments whose records were centralized over time and represented most prominently in Central Files include (but are not limited to): Economics, Development Services, Technical Operations, Projects (and its sector divisions), and Administration.
Exhibit: The World Bank's Role as Mediator in the 1950s
This exhibit describes how the Bank served as mediator for a number of international disputes, including Iran oil nationalization, Indus Basin, and the Aswan High Dam. The exhibit features folder lists of records related to these mediation efforts.
Other Ways to Find Archival Records
Projects and Operations
This searchable database of World Bank projects provides contextual information for each World Bank project as well as a folder list of archival records that relate to that project. Records that have been digitized are viewable here as well.
Access thousands of photos documenting the World Bank Group’s work in member countries, official signings, and other historic events and personalities relating to World Bank Group operations.
Documents and Reports
Search a curated collection of hundreds of thousands of publicly available reports and serialized publications of the World Bank Group authored since 1946.