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.
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.
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.