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The Archives was established at the foundation of the Institute, collecting the fonds of the National Presidencies and the Presidencies of the branches, and the movements of the Italian Catholic Action. It continues today to operate as a repository of the documentary materials created by the National Presidency and all the internal structures of the Association.
Over the years, the original fonds were accrued through private donations, which have progressively enriched the documentary heritage (currently about 2,200 meters), through the identification and acquisition of corpora of documents created by organizations or individuals related to the Italian Catholic Action and, more generally, to the Italian and International Catholic movement.

The Archives preserves also films, photographs, posters, cards and badges of the Association. 

The archival fonds - of which a complete list with the corresponding table of abbreviations is available - can be divided into four sections. The first section includes the archives of the branches (Gioventù maschile, Gioventù femminile, Unione donne, Unione uomini), of the Unione popolare and the Unione economico-sociale, of the General Presidency of the Italian Catholic Action until the unification following the new Statute (1969), of the Centro nazionale per l’istruzione e l’orientamento professionale (Cniop) and of the Centro nazionale attività catechistiche dell’Ac (Cenac). The second section includes the fonds created after the unification. The third section gathers the fonds of the “intellectual” movements: Fuci, Movimento laureati di Azione cattolica (now Meic) and Movimento maestri (now Mieac). The fourth section includes personal fonds of relevant personalities, among which: Armida Barelli, Carlo Carretto, Alfredo Cavagna, Rosa Dassogno Paronetto, Agostino Ferrari Toniolo, Luigi Gedda, Emilio Guano, Vera Paronetto, Luigi Pelloux, Piercostante Righini, Augusto Rovigatti, Antonio Zama, Amalia Zambaldi.

The descriptions of the archival fonds are curated by Simona Ferrantin and Paolo Trionfini.

Institute's archivists act in accordance with the Code of Ethics adopted by the International Council on Archives.