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Boston (Mass.). City Clerk

 Organization

Historical note

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 73 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

 Series
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

 Series
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

 Series
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

 Series
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.

Audits

 Series
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

 Series
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

 Collection
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

 Series
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

 Collection
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: SB - 012, Folder: 1-3
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

 Series
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: SB - 011, 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: SB - 008, Folder: 1-3
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

 Collection
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

 Series
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

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

Enrolled militia

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

Fence viewer decisions

 Series
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

 Series
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.

Laws and Ordinances, 1630-2016

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

Licenses

 Collection
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...