Round numbers are always good for appraisals. How should we celebrate the one hundredth birthday of one of the most emblematic global institutions of the twentieth century? Marcel van der Linden, a central actor of recent global labor historiography, has written an impressive piece to celebrate this birthday. One can read it as an institutional biography or as an essay on the “life cycle” of the International Labour Organization (ILO)—not by chance a methodological approach that he and other labor historians have been promoting in the last years.

If I may pursue the metaphor a little further, van der Linden divides the life of this lady (in Spanish the ILO, or rather OIT—Organización Internacional del Trabajo—is female) into two central moments. The first is that of her birth, childhood, and youth until the apex of her adult life, when she reaches fifty, while the second is that of her mature...

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