Home » Departments » City Clerk » Municipal Archives and Records » Collection Guides » Police Department » Complaint Books, 1868-1925

Police Complaint Books, 1868-1925


The Police Record (Complaint) Books consist of nine (9) volumes. They are dated October 1868-September 1874; August 1900-December 1902; January 1903-November 1904; December 1904-September 1906; October 1908-October 1910; October 1910-July 1912; January 1914-August 1915; July 1917-July 1919 and November 1924-December 1925.

Scope and Content

These handwritten daily logs of police activity are the precursors of today's complaint books. Each incident is dated and described in a brief paragraph with a heading (type of crime) written in the left margin. Some incidents involved crime while on other occasions, the police were helping individuals find lost property or determining whether doors, windows or safes were secured.

Crimes in the first five volumes were frequently drunkenness, larceny (theft of clothing, jewelry and food), assault and fornication. Nearly every night, one or more individuals were arrested for "lodging". It is assumed that this meant they had no place to sleep and therefore were brought to the police station. There were reports of runaways and escapees from prisons, insane asylums, the Industrial School, County Farm and orphanages. More spectacular events include an account of the Kennard Building fire on January 14, 1902 and a murder at the Amoskeag Corporation on January 9, 1902.

The latter volumes reflect changes in society such as accidents involving automobiles and children running into them, and accidents involving automobiles and horse drawn vehicles. Auto robes were stolen on a regular basis. The Police Department also operated the ambulance service. They responded to accident calls as well as emergency calls to prevent suicides.


The entries are arranged chronologically within each volume.

Administrative Information

The Police Record books were accessioned by archivist Sally Stephensen and descriptive material written by archival assistant Kathie Gardner in August 2001.


The records are open for research with restrictions. Researchers must receive permission from the archivist to reprint any portion of the material.


The Police Record (Complaint Books), 1868-1925, of the Police Department, City of Manchester, New Hampshire.
Accession 2002.20