Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search results

0300. City Clerk, Office of the

 Record Group
Identifier: 0300
The first mention of a Town Recorder is the following action of the Selectmen, July 5, 1641: “Our brother John Oliver (a selectman) is chosen Treasurer for the Towne, and to keep the Towne’s booke.” From 1693 to 1822, the custodian of the Town records was called the Town Clerk. Section 10 of Chapter 110 of the Acts of 1821 stated that the City Clerk shall have all the powers, and perform all the duties belonging to the Town Clerk of the Town of Boston. As provided by the City Charter, the City Clerk of Boston is elected by the City Council for a term of three years. The Office of the Clerk, under the direction of the City Clerk, accepts, files, records, and maintains all municipal records. The City Clerk publishes the agenda for all City Council meetings, records all Council and related Mayor actions, and edits and compiles the minutes of Council meetings. The Department also maintains the City Council document system database and publishes, on a yearly basis, all ordinances and amended codes. The City Clerk is also responsible for overseeing the work of the Archives Commission. Services to the public include the sale of various licenses and permits, notarizing and attesting to documents and filing, recording and copying papers in the custody of the Clerk. Services to City government consist of providing informational resources and technical assistance, administration of the state's open meeting law, administration of oaths of office, attestation of various legal papers and custody of records. The Archives Commission oversees the protection of City records, files and other items of historic interest.

Found in 70 Collections and/or Records:

Accident notices

 Series — Box 1
Identifier: 0301.044

Address of Greeting presented to the City of Boston by the City of Manchester on the occasion of the visit of the Lord Mayor

 Item — Box 1
Identifier: 0300.019
Scope and Contents Address of Greeting presented to the City of Boston by the City of Manchester on the Occasion of the visit of the Lord Mayor.

Amendments to Zoning Code

 Series — Box 1
Identifier: 0301.036
Scope and Contents Amendments to the Zoning Code filed with the City Clerk's Office, 1966-1971.

Annual reports of Public Utilities

Identifier: 0301.004
Scope and Contents note The annual reports of the Public Utilities are filed chronologically. Companies include New England Telephone and Telegraph Company, Boston Edison, Quaker Building Company, Dedham and Hyde Park Gas and Electric Light Company, Boston Gas Company, Worcester Gas Light Company, Commonwealth Gas Company. Most companies filed the Department of Public Utilities Statement of Expenses and Revenues form except for the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company which filed a copy of the published annual...

Assignments for the benefit of creditors

Identifier: 0301.006
Scope and Contents Sec. 41 of Chapter 203 of the Massachusetts General Laws requires the filing of a valid copy of an assignment a debtor has made for the benefit of creditors with the City Clerk's Office. Includes one index volume of assignments filed 1897-1942 and a card index of filings for circa 1947-1995.

Assignments of wages

Identifier: 0301.005
Scope and Contents Sec. 12 of Chapter 154 of the Massachusetts General Laws requires the authorization to collect the future wages or salary of a person to be filed with the City Clerk. Includes indexes from 1857-1861; 1865-1883; 1885-1889; 1899-1906; 1912-1942; and 1943-1993. Also includes records of filings from 1865-1869; 1877; 1880-1881; and 1992-2005.

Attachments of bulky property

Identifier: 0301.008
Scope and Contents Records of attachments of articles of personal property which by reason of their bulk or for other cause can not be immediately removed were filed with the City Clerk's Office. Includes filings from 1912-1918 and 1940-1984.


Identifier: 0301.007
Scope and Contents Includes state audits of city accounts conducted by the Bureau of Accounts, Department of Corporations and Taxation in compliance with provisions of Chapter 44 of the Massachusetts General Laws, 1950-1965 and audits of city departments conducted internally and by independent certified public accountants, 1971-1979.

Board of Estimate and Apportionment records

Identifier: 0300.006
Scope and Contents Established by Chapter 434 of the Acts of 1898, "An Act Relative to the Finances of the City of Boston." Repealed by Section 1 of Chapter 449 of the Acts of 1899. The records were transferred to the custody of the City Clerk when the Board was disbanded. Includes hearing transcripts and records.

Business certificate filings

Identifier: 0301.001
Scope and Contents note This collection includes records of business certificate filings from 1907-2012. It is divided into two series: Indexes and Certificates. The indexes from 1907-1979 are in bound volumes. The indexes for 1980-1982 and 1983 are in card file drawers. The index covering 1984-1994 is stored in four binders and the indexes for 1995-2010 are in single volumes. The index includes date of filing, name of business, name of owner, address of business and address of owner. The indexes to the business...

Campaign expense returns

Identifier: 0301.021
Scope and Contents Includes returns of expenses filed by candidates at State and Municipal Elections and returns of expenses filed by treasurers of Political Committees.

City Census records

Identifier: 0300.010
Scope and Contents note The City Census records span the years 1820-1855 and are divided into two series: Returns and Report. The collection includes returns for the city censuses of 1820, 1835, 1837, 1840, 1850, and 1855. The 1820 census returns include volumes for wards 5, 9, 11, and 12 only. These volumes list names, property ownership, buildings and livestock. The 1835 census returns include 12 volumes, one for each ward and South Boston, as well as a map for ward 4 and commentary. The 1837 census returns...

City Clerk's Office photographs

 Series — Box Small Collection, Folder: 10
Identifier: 0300.004
Scope and Contents note Includes photographs documenting greetings from Boston, England for 225th anniversary in 1955; one photograph of City Clerk Wilfred Doyle, circa 1928; and one photograph of unidentified individual in City Clerk's Office (possibly City Clerk Edward J. Donovan), 1907.

Collective bargaining agreements

Identifier: 0301.031
Scope and Contents Copies of collective bargaining agreements between the City of Boston and City unions filed in the City Clerk's Office, 1965-1994.

Committee of Correspondence, Inspection and Safety minutes [transcript]

 Item — Box Early Records #5, Folder: 9
Identifier: 0300.015
Scope and Contents Twentieth century transcription of minutes of the Boston Committee of Correspondence Inspection and Safety from 1776. The minutes from 1776 appear in the "List of Records in the Custody of the City Clerk's Department" published in 1899. However, the location of the original minutes is unknown at this time. This typewritten transcript appears to have been produced sometime in the twentieth century.

Committee on Sale of Lands near Court Street (County Lands) records

 Series — Box Early Records #2, Folder: 3-5
Identifier: 0300.023
Scope and Contents Appointed by the Court of Common Pleas, the Committee was responsible for the sale at public auction of all lands with appurtenances lying between the County Courthouse and Court Street. Includes correspondence, deeds, etc.

Complaints against dogs

 Series — Box City Clerk 1
Identifier: 0301.030
Scope and Contents Complaints against dangerous dogs filed with the City Clerk's Office.

Contracts and leases

Identifier: 0301.012
Scope and Contents note The City Contracts collection consists of records from 1852-1869, with the bulk of materials from 1862-1869. There is a small amount of leases for apartment buldings, but the majority of the records deal with either the construction of public buildings or the maintenance of Boston. There are numerous contracts for New City Hall, City Hospital, Public Garden, and school houses. These have been grouped together into a subseries for each prospective year (i.e., records for school houses in 1862...

Declarations of Trust

Identifier: 0301.002
Scope and Contents note The Declarations of Trust are filed chronologically by date of filing in City Clerk's Office. Entries for the Declarations of Trust filed between 1909-1983 are included in the indexes to the Business Certificates. For the index from 1984-2011, contact the City Clerk's Office.

Election scrapbooks

Identifier: 0300.014
Scope and Contents note Scrapbooks of newspaper clippings documenting election results, 1867-1901.

Enrolled militia

Identifier: 0300.016
Scope and Contents Lists of enrolled militia for the years 1844-1862, 1864 and 1867.

Fence viewer decisions

Identifier: 0301.033
Scope and Contents According to Sec. 6 of Chapter 49 of the Massachusetts General Laws when a dispute arises concerning the part of a partition fence which under this chapter each party is required to build or maintain, either party may apply to the fence viewers, who, after notice to each party and a hearing, may in writing assign to each his share thereof, and may direct the time within which each party shall erect or repair his share; which assignment, being recorded in the office of the city or town clerk...

Financial orders

Identifier: 0300.024
Scope and Contents City Clerk's Office copies of loan orders, appropriations and transfers approved by the Mayor and City Council.

Index to raffle permits

 Series — Box 1
Identifier: 0301.037
Scope and Contents Index card file to raffle permits issued to local businesses and organizations, 1969-1992.

Inventory of books, pictures and articles of historic interest in departments of the City of Boston

 Item — Volume 1
Identifier: 0300.008
Scope and Contents Chapter 5 of the Ordinances of 1891 required the City Clerk to keep a book recording books, pictures and articles of historic interest held in departments except for those in permanent charge of the School Board or the Trustees of the Public Library. Includes 2 copies of inventory compiled by the City Clerk.

Jamaica Pond Aqueduct Company proceedings

 Item — Volume 1
Identifier: 0301.024
Scope and Contents Proceedings of the Jamaica Pond Aqueduct Corporation, 1857-1893.

Laws and Ordinances, 1630-2016

Identifier: 0300.011
Scope and Contents Collection of printed copies of City of Boston charters, statutes, by-laws and ordinances, 1630-2016.


Identifier: 0301.013
Scope and Contents Miscellaneous licenses recorded by the City Clerk's Office. Includes one volume recording oaths administered July 1850-January 1858 and fees for licenses settled with the City Treasurer for Dogs, 1850-1852; Dealers in Second Hand Articles, 1850-1857; Stray beasts and articles found, 1850-1857; Permits to construct coal holes and arches in sidewalks, 1850-1854; Auctioneers, 1850-1857; Intelligence Offices, 1850-1857; Account of fees etc. received by City Clerk, 1852-1858; Receipts for licenses...

List of Accepted Streets in the City of Boston, 1700-1867 inclusive

 Item — Volume 1
Identifier: 0300.018
Scope and Contents The list records all streets which have been formally accepted, 1700-1867 inclusive, based on an examination of the records of the Town and City. Includes name of street with year in which street was recognized by the proper authorities as a public highway.

List of Jurors drawn

Identifier: 0301.034
Scope and Contents Lists of names of individuals drawn for jury service. Includes date drawn and court of service.

Lists of constables appointed

 Series — Box 1
Identifier: 0301.032
Scope and Contents Printed lists of the names of constables appointed, 1877-1891.

Lists of special laws and statutes

 Series — Box 1
Identifier: 0301.038
Scope and Contents Handwritten lists of Special Laws and Statutes of the Massachusetts Legislature relating to the City of Boston.

Married Women doing Business certificates

Identifier: 0301.011
Scope and Contents note This collection represents the records that were created and collected by the clerk’s office as a result of Statute 1862, c.198, the Certificate of Married Women doing Business on a Separate Account. Each certificate filed includes her name and the name of her husband, the nature of the business and location, the street and number of the location. Should any woman fail to record her separate business the husband was allowed to do so on her behalf. The certificate also lists the date and time...

Mayor's Office of Cable Communications filings

 Collection — Box 3: Series II, Drawer: 1, Box: 5
Identifier: 0301.003
Scope and Contents note This collection consists of the copies of records filed in the Office of the City Clerk by the Mayor’s Office of Cable Communications for public inspection pursuant to 207 CMR (Code of Massachusetts Regulations) 3.00. These records span the dates 1980 – 2003, with bulk dates of 1980 – 1984 and 1996 - 2003. Present within these records are proposals/applications, reports, correspondence, documents pertaining to public hearings, plans and maps, contracts, and cable licenses. There is also an...

Mortgages of personal property

Identifier: 0301.009
Scope and Contents Mortgages of Personal Property filed with the City Clerk's Office. Personal property mortgages were filed separately up until the enactment of the Uniform Commercial Code in 1958. Includes grantor/grantee indexes, 1832-1854; grantor indexes, 1854-1954; grantee indexes, 1870-1958; entry books, 1853-1956; record of mortgages, 1832-1958; and a consolidated grantor index of mortgages and tax liens, 1959-1973.

Notice of Interest in Contracts

 Series — Box 1
Identifier: 0301.039

Notices of filing application to become a citizen

Identifier: 0301.035
Scope and Contents Notices filed with the City Clerk of applications to become a citizen by Section 3 of Chapter 345 of the Acts of 1885. Includes one volume recording filings, 1885-1895 and filings, 1885-1900.

Notices of Street Improvements

 Series — Box 1
Identifier: 0301.043

Notices of valuables found

 Series — Box City Clerk 1
Identifier: 0301.029
Scope and Contents Includes notices of livestock, money and other valuables found in the city.


Identifier: 0300.003
Scope and Contents Objects kept in the custody of the City Clerk. Includes a gold pen belonging to the Clerk of the Common Council from 1845, the baton used by the Chief Marshals at the parades celebrating the 250th and 350th anniversary of the settlement of Boston, the city seals of Boston, Roxbury and Hyde Park, a minor's bootblack badge and a minor's newsboy badge.

Office of the City Clerk records

Identifier: 0300.001
Scope and Contents note This collection includes administrative files and reference files from the Office of the City Clerk. The collection is divided into 7 series - Series I: Card index, Series II: Correspondence, Series III: Opinions, Series IV: Inaugural Records, Series V: Administrative files, Series VI: Reference files, and Series VII: Reports. Series I is a consolidation of several card indexes used in the Clerk's Office from the early to mid 1900s. The card indexes include references to...

Papers relating to the Town Dock

 Series — Box Early Records #1, Folder: 15-17
Identifier: 0300.022
Scope and Contents Bundle of "old papers and memorandum respecting the town's rights and the boundaries of estates on the dock with some old plans." Includes both original documents and extracts from town records.

Personal records of Members of the Board of Aldermen and Common Council 1861-1890

Identifier: 0300.013
Scope and Contents note The Record Commissioners during the years 1891-1894 compiled the “Personal Records” of the members of the Board of Aldermen and Common Council. The collection includes forms from members of the City Councils from 1861-1890. Gaps do exist throughout this span. The publication “A Catalogue of the city councils of Boston, Roxbury, Charlestown…” printed by order of the City Council, 1909 contains a list of all the members of the City Councils from 1822-1909 with a biographical notes number. William...

Plans filed in the City Clerk's Office

Identifier: 0300.012
Scope and Contents Plans filed in the Office of the City Clerk. The materials in this collection date from circa 1830s-1982 with the bulk of the items dating from 1931-1982. These records consist primarily of twentieth century highway layouts, land taking plans and railroad plans. Also included are city maps, ward maps, and plans relating to bridges, gas and electric, streets and highways, the Parks Department, and the Longfellow School in Roslindale, as well as a small group of miscellaneous items. Some items...

Pole and conduit locations

Identifier: 0301.015
Scope and Contents Record of petitions filed for hearings to construct transmission lines upon, along, under or across a public way, 1903-1919 and record of notices of pole and conduit locations granted, 1911-1983, that were required to be filed in the City Clerk's Office by Chapter 509 of the Acts of 1911.

Power of Attorney filings and index

 Series — Box City Clerk 1
Identifier: 0301.028
Scope and Contents Includes power of attorney filings and card index.

Railroad Location plans

Identifier: 0301.019
Scope and Contents Oversized railroad location plans filed in the Office of the City Clerk. Includes plans for the following Railroad Companies: Boston and Albany Railroad; Boston and Lowell Railroad; Boston and Maine Railroad; Boston and Providence Railroad; Boston Elevated Railway Company; Boston, Revere Beach and Lynn Railroad; Boston, Winthrop and Point Shirley Railroad; Chelsea Beach Railroad; Dorchester and Milton Branch Railroad; Eastern Junction Broad Sound Pier and Point Shirley Railroad; Eastern...

Record of Army and Navy enlistments from Boston

Identifier: 0300.017
Scope and Contents Army and Navy enlistments on Boston's quota, 1861-1865 and re-enlistments and transfers of soldiers, seamen and officers, 1861-1865.

Record of confirmation and removal of officeholders

 Item — Volume 1
Identifier: 0300.020
Scope and Contents An ordinance passed 28 December 1854 required appointments by the Mayor and Aldermen or by the Mayor on advice and consent of the Aldermen be sent to the City Clerk to record in a book. Includes name, office, date confirmed and date removed.

Record of forms of notice

Identifier: 0300.021
Scope and Contents City Clerk's record book of forms of notifications relating to lists of voters, elections etc. Also includes transcriptions of oaths administered by City Clerk.

Record of liens on vessels

Identifier: 0301.020
Scope and Contents According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 255 Section 15, liens on vessels must be filed in the City Clerk's office within thirty days after the vessel departs from the port at which she was when the debt was contracted. Includes 8 volumes of recorded liens, 1874 1940 and 3 index volumes, 1874-1982.

Record of names, marks and devices

Identifier: 0301.022
Scope and Contents note According to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 110, Sections 17 and 21, names, marks or devices on cans, bottles, milk bottles etc. may be registered by filing with the City Clerk. Includes index volume for 1893-1900, index cards for 1924-1941 and applications filed chronologically.

Records of joint stock companies

Identifier: 0301.023
Scope and Contents Includes two volumes of corporation records filed with the City Clerk, 1865-1871 and three index volumes, 1851-1871.

Records of qualifications (oaths of office)

Identifier: 0300.002
Scope and Contents note This collection includes records of oaths sworn by Elected Officials, Major Officers, Minor Officers and Police Officers. The volumes include the oath sworn on the conditions expressed by the Statutes of the Commonwealth and the Ordinances of the City along with the signatures of those taking the oath. The Elected Officials volumes include the Mayor and City Council members. School committee members and the Suffolk County Register of Deeds are included in the 1938-2004 Elected Officials...

Register of tax notice

 Series — Volume 1
Identifier: 0301.025
Scope and Contents Massachusetts General Laws chapter 60, sec. 39, states if a mortgagee or an owner of land causes a notice, designating a place in the town where such land lies at which all papers relative to taxes on such land which are to be served on him may be left, is to be recorded in January of any year in the office of the clerk of such town and, during said month, to be delivered to the collector. Includes one volume of notices filed with the City Clerk's Office from 1903-1936.

Registration of cropped dog ears

 Series — Box City Clerk 1
Identifier: 0301.027
Scope and Contents Chapter 347 of the Acts of 1928 required filing with the City Clerk's Office of dogs whose ears were cropped or cut off prior to September 1, 1928 or amputated by a veterinarian. Includes notices filed 1928-1941.


Identifier: 0301.017
Scope and Contents According to Sections 8, 21, and 70 of Chapter 12 of the Massachusetts General Laws, physicians, chiropodists and optometrists are required to register with the City Clerk. Includes Physician certificates, 1917-1998; Chiropodist certificates, 1917-1946; and Optometrist certificates, 1920-1958.

Religious Societies filings

Identifier: 0301.010
Scope and Contents Articles of incorporation of Religious Societies filed with the City Clerk. Filing with the City Clerk was discontinued by Section 15 of Chapter 291 of the Acts of 1918.

Residence affidavits

 Series — Box 1
Identifier: 0301.040

Returns of votes cast

 Series — Box 1
Identifier: 0301.026
Scope and Contents Returns of votes cast for presidential electors, county offices, amendments and city offices filed with the City Clerk's Office.

Street Railway locations

 Series — Box 1
Identifier: 0301.018
Scope and Contents Includes printed copies of street railway locations granted, 1869-1942 and one index volume of location plans filed with the City Clerk's Office, 1835-1960.

Testimonial to Capt. R. B. Forbes from Citizens of Cork, Ireland

 Item — Box 1
Identifier: 0300.009
Scope and Contents On 18 February 1847, a meeting of citizens in Faneuil Hall passed a resolution of sympathy with the people of Ireland suffering from the famine and appointed a committee to receive contributions. The Secretary of the Navy placed the naval vessel the Jamestown at the disposal of the Committee. On 27 March 1847, the vessel under the command of Capt. R. B. Forbes of Boston and loaded with provisions sailed for Ireland. The document is a testimonial to Capt. R. B. Forbes from the Citizens of Cork,...

Warrants issued for General Meetings

Identifier: 0300.007
Scope and Contents note Warrants issued for General Meetings, 1825-1836. Includes warrants, petitions, notifications and copies of acts.