The Welfare Department works to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged residents of Manchester, by providing emergency assistance to individuals and families who lack adequate resources. The office was originally known as the Overseers of the Poor from as early as 1848 until 1919, then the Commissioner of Charities from 1919 until 1961, and the Commissioner of Welfare starting in 1962. Although an official office may not have always existed in Manchester's earlier years, an overseer of the poor can be found in the city's annual reports as early as 1846, when it was assigned to a single selectman; in 1848, a group of government officials comprised the Overseers of the Poor.
This collection is comprised of the records of the Commissioner of Charities and its corresponding department. It is a continuation of the Overseers of the Poor Collection, as it documents the functions of the office which would eventually go on to become the Welfare Department. It largely documents disbursements made to individuals who required financial assistance.
This collection is comprised of all surviving records created by the Overseers of the Poor, and holds some of the oldest government documents in the archives. It documents the City’s efforts to care for its poorer residents, through the use of funds and programs, including the City Poor Farm, Almshouse, and House of Corrections. It includes meeting minutes, reports, and financial documents.