Dag Hammarskjöld

"I have no doubt that 40 years from now we shall be engaged in the same pursuit. How could we expect otherwise? World organization is still a new adventure in human history." - Dag Hammarskjöld, 20 May 1956.

Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld was Secretary-General of the United Nations from 10 April 1953 until 18 September 1961 when he was killed in a plane accident while on a peace mission in the Congo. Born on 29 July 1905 in Jonkoping, Sweden, Mr. Hammarskjöld was educated at Uppsala University and University of Stockholm, where he obtained a doctorate in economics in 1933.

Mr. Hammarskjöld was appointed to the post of Permanent Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Finance (1936) and became an adviser to the Cabinet on financial and economic problems (1946), organizing and coordinating different governmental planning for the various economic problems that during the post-war period. He was appointed to the Foreign Office (1947) and was appointed Secretary-General of the same (1949) before joining the Cabinet as Minister (1951). He was Vice-Chairman of the Swedish Delegation to the Sixth Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly in Paris (1951-1952), and acting Chairman of Sweden’s delegation to the Seventh General Assembly (1952-1953).

Mr. Hammarskjöld was unanimously appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations by the General Assembly on 7 April 1953 on the recommendation of the Security Council. He was re-elected unanimously for another term of five years in September 1957.

During his terms as Secretary-General, Mr. Hammarskjöld carried out many responsibilities for the United Nations in the course of its efforts to prevent war and serve the other aims of the Charter. In 1960, President Joseph Kasa-Vubu and Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba of the Republic of the Congo sent a cable on 12 July asking "urgent dispatch" of United Nations military assistance to the Congo. Following Security Council actions the United Nations Force in the Congo was established and the Secretary-General himself made four trips to the Congo in connection with the United Nations operations there throughout 1960 and 1961. The fourth trip to the Congo began on 12 September and ended on 18 September 1961 with the plane crash that killed the Secretary-General.


Archival Finding Aids for Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld Fonds –AG-001 

Fonds consists of a very small portion of the archives of Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld; those which were left at the Secretariat after selected archives were transferred to Andrew Cordier and the Royal Library of Sweden are arranged in the following archival series.


Series Title Dates References
Miscellaneous administrative records 1948-1964 S-0844
Miscellaneous operational records 1953-1961 S-0846
Minutes of the Secretary-General's private meetings with the Under-Secretaries-General 1946-1958 S-0847
Press releases 1953-1961 S-0928

Related archives

For Congo Mission archives (ONUC) which were created by Hammarskjöld and subsequently Secretary-General U Thant, see S-0845 and S-0849 (part of the Secretary-General U Thant fonds, AG-005). Most of Secretary-General Hammarskjöld’s archives are held by the National Library of Sweden  (approx. 61 linear ft.) and by Columbia University Library in New York (approx. 38 linear ft.).

At the Royal Library, Department of Manuscripts, the following Secretary-General's archives are held within the Dag Hammarskjöld collection: Correspondence and memorabilia, 1953-1961; Country files, 1953-1961; Photographs, 1953-1961; Records related to the Middle East conflict, 1956-1961; Records related to the Congo crisis, 1960-1961; Trip files, 1953-1961. The full finding aid can be found here

At the Columbia University Library Rare Book and Manuscript Division , the following Secretary-General Hammarskjöld archives are held within the Andrew Cordier Papers: Trips and trip files, 1953-1961, Miscellaneous, 1953-1961; Subject files, 1946-1961; peacekeeping and crisis files, 1953-1961.