Receiving donations : a selective approach

The Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe is an institution under private law, recognized of public utility. Its mission is to enrich, store, enhance and make its documentary resources available. This is achieved through selective reception of new fonds. Indeed, the archives received by the Foundation are kept in the Farm of Dorigny, where its office is located. Once processed, they can be consulted there by researchers.

Basically made up of private archives, the heritage conserved in the Foundation is both unique and diverse : its uniqueness is due to the fact that Jean Monnet’s archives and Robert Schuman works are historical archives of the European Union; its diversity stems from the fact that those archives are attractive to fonds of other protagonists of the European construction including Jean Monnet’s closest associates, senior officials of European institutions, politicians, university lecturers, economists, industry operators, law specialists and even media figures. In order to be compliant with the Foundation’s prime thematic thrusts, high priority is given to the overall consistency and complementarity of archives.

Systematic prospection has become a process mobilising not only the Foundation’s staff, but also all its components, especially its Council made up of about 500 members. The enrichment capacity of the Foundation’s archives often depends on donation opportunities from connections. Visits of key figures or researchers and video interviews are some opportunities to establish networks and find potential donors. Hence, the Foundation’s library is frequently enriched with new regular or random donations from individuals or legal entities. Several funds have been consistently completed either by donors themselves or their families. The prestige of the Jean Monnet Foundation for Europe, the confidence it has gained on the international arena as well as the attractiveness of its current variety of archives are signs of continuous expansion and diversification.

Amounting to many hundred thousands of documents representing about 500 linear meters (more than 2000 archives boxes), these heritage resources of an immeasurable cultural and scientific value cover strong thematic axes cutting across several academic fields (history, political science, European studies, political economy, international relations, philosophy, law etc.) : the war and peace issue, the reconciliation process of the European people, the establishment and development of European communities in all their dimensions, the role and place of Europe in world politics, Switzerland-European Union relations. As the depository of Jean Monnet’s archives, the Foundation should be the place where maximum sources and documentation on him are stored.

Each donation being specific, individuals and institutions wishing to donate archives to the Foundation are kindly invited to contact our Archives Department by phone at +41 (0)21 692 20 97 or by e-mail at mathias.walter@fjme.unil.ch.

In addition to its original collection, the Foundation is called upon to use its exploitation right to promote other funds from which it receives soft copies given by partner institutions. In this framework, a copy of Paul-Henri Spaak’s archives was handed over by the foundation bearing his name to Jean Monnet’s Foundation for Europe in 2005. Similarly, a copy of Jacques Delors private archives during his ten years at the helm of the European Commission have been donated to the Dorigny Farm beginning of 2016.

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