Home » Departments » City Clerk » Municipal Archives and Records » Collection Guides » City Clerk, Office of the

City Clerk, Office of the (0300)

Receipt for City Hall Desk 1881
Receipt for City Hall Desk 1881

The City Clerk is nominated and appointed by the Board of Aldermen as prescribed by state law. Some of the responsibilities of the City Clerk are to preserve the official public documents and records of the City of Manchester; conduct and preserve the integrity of elections; provide administrative and support services to the Legislative body; and meet other regulatory requirements established by law.


Agreements and Contracts, 1841-1941 (Accession 1998.13)

A collection of contracts, this series includes agreements, bonds, and other legally binding documentation of the City of Manchester’s interaction with businesses, individuals, and other governments. Dating between 1841 and 1941, the contracts encompass projects such as city streets, fire protection, insurance, small and large construction projects, telephone services, a comfort station, laying underground cable lines, and many more. There are also written agreements between members of the City of Manchester’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen, in which they agree to reconsider particular issues, change votes, or alter policy. Arranged alphabetically by contracting party, these documents provide insight into the activities of the city government, technological change, and the development of Manchester’s service industries.

Digital Items:

Annual Return of Corporations, 1897-1898 (Accession 2006.17)

This volume consists of pre-printed pages for each corporation licensed to do business in Manchester. Categories include date of incorporation; amount of stock; number of shares authorized; number of shares issued; value of stock; amount of capital stock paid in; amount of debts due the corporation; debts due from the corporation; amount of property and kind of property owned by the corporation. The bulk of the volume consists of unfilled pages.

Bicentennial Committee, 1973-1977 (Accession 2002.24)

The papers of the Bicentennial Committee document the activities of this committee which oversaw the celebration of America’s two hundredth birthday and cover the terms of two mayors, Sylvio Dupuis and Charles Stanton. There are grant applications, financial notes, reports and correspondence, as well as drawings of proposed renovations to City property.

Bids and Estimates/Proposals, 1891-1946 (Accession 1998.12)

A collection of bids and estimates, this series includes proposals provided by businesses and individuals to the City of Manchester for construction and maintenance projects. Dating between the years 1891 and 1946, the bids encompass projects such as the upkeep of city clocks, construction of community schools, renovation of fire stations and additions to the police station, schools and other public facilities. Each document can be used to identify local businessmen and provide information on the costs and specifications of a variety of construction and services projects. In some cases, the City of Manchester’s original request for bids accompanies the proposals.

Board of Registrars, 1882-2017 (0300.010)

This collection contains governance documents, such as meeting minutes and supporting documentation, created by the Board of Registrars of Voters and its predecessor, the Inspectors of the Checklists.

Charter Commission, 1996 (Accession 2005.6)

In 1995 voters agreed to allow the revision of the City Charter which had been in effect since 1983. Nine individuals were elected in the Charter Commission in January 1996. Documentation in the files of the Charter Commission includes notes, drafts of proposed charters, expense reports, legal notices, sample charters from other cities and towns, supporting documents of the meetings and videotapes.

Charter Commission, 2002-2003 (Accession 2006.2)

On November 5, 2002, the voters of Manchester chose nine (9) individuals to revise the City Charter. They discussed issues such as eliminating the aldermen-at-large positions; the powers and duties of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen; whether to appoint or elect the Welfare Commissioner and whether to return to partisan elections.

Charter Commission, 2012-2013 (Accession 2014.31)

On November 06, 2012, Manchester voters chose nine individuals to form a commission to revise the City Charter. The commission discussed issues such as: changing the mayor's salary; changing the Commissioner of Welfare position from an elected official to an appointed department director; setting the aldermanic stipend at $9,000, the School Board stipend at $7,000, and eliminating their benefits; and requiring candidates for the School Board Committee and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen to be residents of Manchester for at least one year.

Correspondence, 1858-1932 (Accession 1998.16)

This series includes the incoming, outgoing, and internal correspondence of the City Clerk’s office. Though not a complete set, the surviving letters and telegraph messages do serve as a representative sample of the City Clerk’s activities between 1858 and 1932. Most of the incoming correspondence is in the form of telegraph messages and correspondents include officials from other municipalities, the U.S. Treasury Department, bankers, and attorneys at law. Incoming correspondence dealt with standard vital records requests, but also atypical topics such as bond issues, patent violations, the creation of the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, and rent of the City Hall. The only two outgoing letters include an 1863 telegraph from City of Manchester Mayor Theodore Abbott to Joseph Knowlton and the unsigned carbon of a letter from the City of Manchester’s City Clerk to the vice-president of the Manchester Traction, Light, & Power Company. Internal correspondence between departments includes letters from the City Clerk to the City Surveyor and the City Engineer, and letters to the City Clerk from the Committee on Streets and the City Engineer. In his letters to the City Surveyor and the City Engineer the Clerk advises these officers of votes taken and decisions made by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and requiring action by their departments. In his letters to the City Clerk and Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the City Engineer discussed perambulation of town lines, provided lists of the City’s master plumbers, described the “engine house lot” at the corner of Concord and Weston streets, reported the grade of Beacon street from Hanover to Manchester streets, described land in the Town of Auburn and provided a map of the same. A single note from the Committee on Streets to the City Clerk records attendance at the latest committee meeting.

Digital Item: Request to use City Hall, 1858

Deeds, 1826-1963 (Accession 1998.17)

The land deeds in this series represent property exchanges taking place at the City of Manchester, New Hampshire, Tax Collector land sales between 1826 and 1963. The City Solicitor of Manchester purchased the properties described in each deed after the City Tax Collector confiscated the land from former owners for none payment of taxes.

Deeds (City Property), 1815-present (2009.103)

The Manchester City Deeds collection contains deeds for property given or sold to the City of Manchester for public purposes such as building schools, fire stations and the airport.  Many of the schools and City Hall were built on land owned by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company.

Digital Items:

Dog Licenses, 1890-1891 (Accession 2003.25)

The City Clerk kept a day book to register dogs. Owners would register their dogs and pay a $2.00 fee per animal.

Digital Item: Dog License Form, 1891

Election Records, 1842-2015 (0300.001)

This collection documents the electoral history of the City of Manchester. It contains return of votes, recount records, correspondence, campaign financial records, sample ballots, and other materials. Collectively, these documents illustrate the political ramifications of organizing and overseeing political contests at the local, state, and federal levels.

Financial Disclosures, 2002-2016 (0300.009)

Financial disclosures are public records, required by section 9.02 and 9.03 of the City Charter. The City Clerk is responsible for the preparation of financial disclosure forms, and all city officials are required to annually disclose their own individual business and financial relationships, employment, and financial holdings. Records include disclosures from the Mayor, Aldermen, Members of the Board of School Committee, and the Welfare Commissioner.

Government Books, 1855-2017 (0300.011)

Government books, also known as red books or municipal registers, are created and published by the Office of the City Clerk every two years, when a new administration takes office. The books include basic reference information about the local government, including rosters of elected officials, department heads, commissions, and boards. Starting in the late 20th Century, photographic portraits of elected officials were included in the books.

The types of information included in the books varies by year, but some include the City Charter, rules of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, lists of past mayors and aldermen, timelines of historic events in the City of Manchester, historical narratives, and historic photographs.

Index of Attachments, 1849-1861, 1875-1923 (Accession 2003.26)

A general index of attachments collected from a variety of local courts including the Hillsborough Supreme Court, Police Court, Rockingham Supreme Court, and Merrimack Supreme Court. Listed are the names of the defendants, the plaintiffs, amount to be collected, the name of the court, when the attachment was received and when the amount due was paid. The discharge terms are not always listed.

Index of Orders and Trustees, 1881-1900 (Accession 2003.29)

One of the City Clerk’s duties was to record legal papers such as mortgages on personal property, and attachments of real estate, partnerships and assignments. Trustee information consists of: date, trustee, plaintiff, when received, attorney and a notation of discharge. Order information consists of: date, order from, time received, to whom payable and draft number.

Insurance Policies, 1868-1873 (Accession 2004.16)

The City Clerk’s office kept a journal of Insurance Policies for City-owned property. Insured properties included the Court House, city schools, the Amoskeag Falls Bridge and City Hall. The journal lists the properties, amount of the premium, name of the insurance company, term of risk and the name of the insurance agent.

Insurance Policies, 1925-1934 (Accession 1998.19)

A collection of insurance policies, this series documents the amount and type of fire, damage, and liability insurance coverage obtained by the City of Manchester, New Hampshire, between 1925 and 1934. The City purchased insurance to protect against the costs of replacing the City Hall building, schools, hospitals, furnishings, automobiles, and almost all other City properties. While the majority of the collection consists of insurance policies, there are also related documents including correspondence and power of attorney releases.

Insurance Policies Lists, 1913-1935 (Accession 1998.18)

The first set of lists in this series record the insurance companies’ names, the amount of insurance coverage, and the date of policy expiration for several City of Manchester facilities. The facilities include Highland School, City Hall, the City Farm, Goff’s Falls School Committee, and Youngsville School. The second set of lists in this series record insurance coverage for several facilities by agent name, amount of coverage, and expiration date. The last two lists record information regarding insurance coverage of City facilities and property by the name of the insurance company.

Inventories, 1932-1945 (Accession 1998.20)

A collection of inventories, this series documents the material culture of the City of Manchester, New Hampshire, governmental offices between 1932 and 1945. The inventories include lists of furniture, lights, and equipment used in departmental offices, including the offices of the City Clerk, the Mayor, the Board of Adjustment, the Public Comfort, the Planning Board, and others. There were also inventories made of furniture, fixtures, and equipment in the City Hall, the Court House, and the Aldermanic Chamber. In addition, a 1933 inventory of real estate and other personal property owned by the City of Manchester listed the value of buildings, land, books, and equipment. This list incorporated all the City schools, fire stations, public buildings, bridges, parks, playgrounds, cemeteries, and the airport.

Digital Item: City Property Inventory, 1933

Leases and Rents, 1902-1940 (Accession 1998.21)

This series of documents record the leases made and the rents collected by the City of Manchester, New Hampshire, between 1902 and 1940. The City maintained a number of properties which were regularly rented out for either one time functions, short term occupation, or long term businesses. Among the properties rented to other parties by the City were lands and buildings on the “South side of Granite Street,” the “second and third floors” of the Battery building, land “known as part of the City Farm,” Tewksbury Block, and the high school auditoriums. One document indicates that the City leased two pieces of property from John K. McQuestion in 1918 to create “Municipal War Gardens” in support of the national war effort.

Digital Item: Lease with the Ancient Order of Hibernians, 1915

Licenses, 1845-1942 (Accession 1998.41)

Once an application or petition for a license from the City of Manchester was made by a resident, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted to approve the license and, in some cases, issued a standardized license to the effect. This collection of licenses dates between 1845 and 1942. The earliest surviving licenses date from March 1845. The two licenses provide handwritten verification to J. M. Barnes that he could continue paving a portion of Elm Street and to Tilton S. Sweetser that he was licensed to “sell wine and spirituous liquors” in the City of Manchester. Other licenses granted the right to construct businesses or homes, to manufacturer within the City limits, to enter a drain or sewer into the City system, to operate a taxi, to erect and maintain electrical wires, or to fish or hunt in the State of New Hampshire.

Digital Item: License to Sell Wine and Spirits, 1845

Licenses to Encumber Streets, 1870-1893 (Accession 1870-1893)

Licenses were granted to individuals and companies to encumber portions of a street in order to move a building, repair a roof, put up a wall, etc. The license holder had to keep the area well lighted at night, free from obstructions and guarantee that no shade trees were cut down. The licenses were signed by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and witnessed by the City Clerk. All the licenses are written on preprinted State of New Hampshire forms.

License Applications, 1901-1946, 1950-1980, 1991-1998, 2001 (Accession 1998.40)

This collection of applications for licenses from the City of Manchester, New Hampshire, dates between 1901 and 2001. Individuals applied for applications to create and conduct a variety of businesses and to organize all types of entertainment. A license was needed to conduct a circus, amusement park, boxing or wrestling bout, concerts, dances, dog shows, exhibitions, plays, and almost any activity on the Sabbath. Most business activities also required a license from the City, including zoos, bowling alleys, employment bureaus, hackney carriages, jitneys, job teaming, junk yards, merry-go-rounds, miniature golf, museums, pawn brokers, penny arcades, pool rooms, roller skating rinks, taxis, theatres, trucking, undertaking, and wood dealers. In addition, applications for license to operate a motor vehicle began as early as 1917. Each applicant completed a form for the Office of the city Clerk, Manchester, N.H. The form records the name of the applicant, resident address, the type of license requested, place of birth, date of birth, New Hampshire citizenship, current address, length of residence in Manchester, how long the applicant has been in business, location of business, and a signature. The signature of the City Clerk on the reverse side of the application indicated that the application had been granted.

Digital Items:

Licensing Fees, 1933-1941 (Accession 1998.42)

The City Clerk's office maintained a list of licensing fees to be charged to individuals and businesses. Fees were based on the type of activity or business for which the license was being issued. This collection of licensing fees information dates from 1933 through 1941. The fees listed include licensing fees charged for the operation of theaters, including fees for Sunday operation and annually. Another list provides information on fees charged for automobile permits, amusement parks, dogs, Sunday activities, marriages, and sewer attachments in 1941.

Military Service Enrollment Ledger/Journal, 1870-1882 (Accession 2003.23)

In the month of April, men between the ages of 18 and 45 were required to enroll as eligible for military service. Enrollment was done by the Clerk or Chairman of the Board of the Assessors, and the results were sometimes recorded by the City Clerk. The names are not in any particular order but some do designate what military organization they served in such as the First New Hampshire Battery or the Sheridan Guards.

Miscellaneous Records, 1848-present (Accession 2004.15)

Miscellaneous Records are volumes of lined journals used by the City Clerk to record a wide variety of transactions. Diverse issues include perambulation of boundaries between Manchester and adjoining towns; Collection of Taxes, (Volume 1-3);Regulations for Public Schools (Volume 2); Records of Public Auctions; Sketch of Manchester/Hooksett Line (Volume 4); Petitions and requests for utility poles and conduits; Sale of the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company in 1911 (Volume 7); the sale and leasing of automobiles (Volume 14) and the sale of a heifer with 5 legs (Volume 15).

Mortgages, 1863-1897 (Accession 1998.43)

This collection of mortgages records the temporary transfer of property ownership between individuals in exchange for loans. If paid back, the property transfer would then become null and void. Mortgaged property included land, carriages, horses, wagons, a steamboat, the liquor inventory of one mortgagees’ pub, sleds, harnesses, cords of wood, cows, clothing and furnishings. The mortgages are recorded on printed forms provided by the State of New Hampshire.

Digital Item: Mortgage of a Horse, 1863

Oaths of Office, 1843-1930, 2009-2021 (Accession 1998.44)

In the Town/City of Manchester,it was the duty of the Justice of the Peace to witness and record the oaths taken by elected and appointed officials to the City Government. This collection of oaths of office includes oaths taken by the Culler of Brick for the Town of Manchester in 1843; the Measurer of Wood for the Town of Manchester in 1844; the Surveyor of Lumber and the Hog Rieves for the Town of Manchester in 1844; Members of the Board of Health for Manchester in1845; those elected moderator for the electoral wards; those appointed Town Clerk for electoral wards; those serving on the Board of Public Works; and those serving in the State of New Hampshire Forest Service. In the 1840s and 1850s, the Justice of the Peace recorded the oaths taken with short handwritten notes. In the 1860s, the Justice of the Peace for the City printed formal “Oath of Office” forms to the record these events.

Digital Item: S.C.S. Burnham's Oath of Office for Ward 1 Clerk, 1849

Pole Petition Records, 1894-current (0300.013)

This collection consists entirely of a single record series of petitions requesting permission to erect power poles in the City of Manchester, most commonly known as Pole Petitions. Pole Petitions are administered by the Office of the City Clerk on behalf on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, which ultimately approves or denies the petitions. The collection reflects the evolution of the city's physical history and infrastructure; it also gives insight into the activities of utility companies from the late 19th Century until today.

Record of Assignments, 1873 (Accession 2003.24)

The Record of Assignments are standard, preprinted forms in which an individual, in consideration for a sum of money, agrees to repay a debt with an individual, company or the City of Manchester. They are signed by the debtor, the lender and witnessed by the City Clerk. Most of the book contains blank forms.

Records of Corporations, 1838-1980 (Collection 0300.002)

Records of Corporation were created by the Office of the City Clerk and its predecessor, the Office of the Town Clerk. These records registered corporations and businesses residing in Manchester. A wide range of businesses are included, such as manufacturing facilities, grocery stores, tailors, carpenters, fish and provision stores, furniture stores, printing and bookbinding services, and others.

Digital Items:

Record of Insurance Policies, 1868-1873 (Accession 2004.16)

The City Clerk’s office kept a journal of Insurance Policies for City-owned property. Insured properties included the Court House, city schools, the Amoskeag Falls Bridge and City Hall. The journal lists the properties, amount of the premium, name of the insurance company, term of risk and the name of the insurance agent.

Record of Officers' Oaths, 1887-1904 (Accession 2003.22)

A record book of oaths administered by the City Clerk, serving as a Justice of the Peace, to individuals who were elected to city positions such as Surveyor of Lumber, Highway Surveyor, Weigher of Hay, Straw and Coal, Trustee of Pine Grove Cemetery and Street and Park Commission.

Surveys, circa 1945 (Accession 1998.45)

Incomplete Postwar Employment Survey for the City of Manchester, New Hampshire. The survey appears to be in draft form and indicates an attempt on the part of the City to provide employment for returning veterans, probably after World War II.

Town Records, 1841-September 1846 (Accession 2003.21)

The Manchester town clerk kept a journal to record the minutes from the town meetings, warrants for upcoming elections, election results, road discontinuances, tax lists, licenses and bills of sale. Entries include an 1841 grant from the Amoskeag Corporation to layout the Valley Cemetery; a March 19, 1841 warrant to build a Town House; the deed for the Town Farm and a 1846 Warrant to the elect the first Mayor of Manchester.

Trademarks/Patents, 1881-1923 (Accession 1998.46)

This file of Trademarks and Patents includes one document related to a patent, dated 1881, and four documents related to trademark protection, dated 1904 through 1923. In 1881, the City of Manchester paid $1,000. for use of the “apparatus for excavating privy vaults” whose patent was controlled by the Eagle Odorless Apparatus Company. In 1903, the State of New Hampshire passed an Act Relating to the Use of Trade Marks and Names to help protect the trademarks developed by New Hampshire businesses. Among the trademarks registered in Manchester, New Hampshire was Roy & Cloutier (buyers and sellers of milk and cream) in 1904; W.F. Glancy (makers of soda water and serge ale) in 1914; Joseph Quirin, 1913, Importer, (importer of wines, beers, and ales) in 1914; and the Salem Coca Cola Bottling Company, which developed a specific label for their soft drinks in 1923. All of these documents have been digitized and are available online via the links below.

Digital Items:

Voter Checklists, 1985-current (0300.006)

Official voter checklists produced by the City Clerk's Office and used during elections by each ward. Checklists list each ward's registered voters in alphabetical order by last name, and include information such as residence and political party affiliation. They are arranged chronologically by election date.

Ward Election Journals, 1846-1914 (0300.003)

The Ward Election Journals were created by each city ward (Ward 1 – Ward 8) during the course of government business, specifically elections. The records document the electoral history of Manchester during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. They are arranged by ward, with each journal’s records in chronological order. Digitized copies of the records are available via the links below.

The ledgers for Ward 1 (1874,-1914), Ward 6 (1874-1896), Ward 7 (1876-1914), and Ward 8 (1854-1874) were restored and digitized in 2024 using Moose Plate Grant Funds from the NH State Library.

Digital Items:

Ward 1, 1846-1874
Pages 001-100: low quality (8 MB) / high quality (58 MB)
Pages 101-200: low quality (8 MB) / high quality (59 MB)
Pages 201-300: low quality (7 MB) / high quality (53 MB)
Pages 301-401: low quality (8 MB) / high quality (57 MB)

Ward 1, 1874-1914
Pages 001-035
Pages 036-070
Pages 071-105
Pages 106-140
Pages 141-175
Pages 176-210
Pages 211-245
Pages 246-270
Pages 271-294

Ward 2, 1846-1874
Pages 001-100: low quality (7 MB) / high quality (53 MB)
Pages 101-200: low quality (7 MB) / high quality (55 MB)
Pages 201-300: low quality (7 MB) / high quality (52 MB)
Pages 301-400: low quality (7 MB) / high quality (57 MB)
Pages 401-420: low quality (2 MB) / high quality (10 MB)

Ward 3, 1846-1874
Pages 001-100: low quality (7 MB) / high quality (53 MB)
Pages 101-200: low quality (7 MB) / high quality (54 MB)
Pages 201-300: low quality (8 MB) / high quality (57 MB)
Pages 301-400: low quality (8 MB) / high quality (57 MB)
Pages 401-416: low quality (2 MB) / high quality (10 MB)

Ward 4, 1846-1874
Pages 001-100: low quality (7 MB) / high quality (55 MB)
Pages 101-200: low quality (8 MB) / high quality (58 MB)
Pages 201-300: low quality (7 MB) / high quality (52 MB)
Pages 301-400: low quality (8 MB) / high quality (60 MB)
Pages 401-481: low quality (5 MB) / high quality (37 MB)

Ward 5, 1846-1874
Pages 001-100: low quality (7 MB) / high quality (53 MB)
Pages 101-200: low quality (8 MB) / high quality (61 MB)
Pages 201-300: low quality (6 MB) / high quality (48 MB)
Pages 301-322: low quality (1 MB) / high quality (9 MB)

Ward 6, 1846-1874
Pages 001-100: low quality (7 MB) / high quality (54 MB)
Pages 101-200: low quality (8 MB) / high quality (58 MB)
Pages 201-300: low quality (7 MB) / high quality (50 MB)
Pages 301-379: low quality (6 MB) / high quality (43 MB)

Ward 6, 1874-1896
Pages 001-035
Pages 036-070
Pages 071-105
Pages 106-140
Pages 141-175
Pages 176-210
Pages 211-245
Pages 246-280
Pages 281-315
Pages 316-350
Pages 351-385
Pages 386-418
Pages 419-438
Pages 439-457

Ward 7, 1846-1874
Pages 001-100: low quality (6 MB) / high quality (46 MB)
Pages 101-200: low quality (6 MB) / high quality (49 MB)
Pages 201-291: low quality (5 MB) / high quality (34 MB)

Ward 7, 1876-1914
Pages 001-035
Pages 036-070
Pages 071-105
Pages 106-140
Pages 141-175
Pages 176-210
Pages 211-245
Pages 246-280
Pages 281-315
Pages 316-363

Ward 8, 1854-1874
Pages 001-035
Pages 036-071
Pages 072-105
Pages 106-139
Pages 140-176
Pages 177-210
Pages 211-245
Pages 246-258