Because of the specialized nature of its archive collections, the Center's archive service welcomes mostly students, professors, and researchers from France or elsewhere.
The archive collections are composed of numerous types of documents (manuscripts, printed documents, oral accounts, photographs) and cover the period from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. These archive collections, with their variety of forms and subject matters, allow us to better understand contemporary history, notably in the following subjects: French institutional and political life (parliamentary government and other types of government), political groups (radicalism, Christian democracy, Gaullism, socialism, communism, leagues, clubs), the two world wars, the French Resistance, decolonization (Indochina, the Maghreb), human rights, international organizations (the UN, NATO), European construction, the French press, immigration.
These archive collections are mostly composed of paper archives; they are often accompanied by photographs that may be reproduced for documentaries, films, or publications. The prices to obtain distribution rights may be consulted in a tariff chart; also, a form must be filled out before any of the photos are used.
The archive collections are described according to the following characteristics:
- The archive collection's research themes
- The date of the first document to the last
- The amount of shelf space and the number of boxes the collection uses
- The conditions of access: "open" or "reserved" collection; where it may be consulted
- Research tools: inventories providing detailed information about the collection's content
- A selected bibliography, when necessary
After having read in detail about the contents of the archive collections and having selected the alphanumeric (or simply numeric) call number, you may complete an online request for access to consult the documents.
All of the inventories are accessible in the contemporary history archives service's reading room; it is located at 56 rue Jacob on the first floor.