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Icon Information on BRG29 - (Department of Legislative Reference)

Series Information
(Department of Legislative Reference)

Series Description

The first municipal agency to provide administrative and legislative reference services in Baltimore was the City Library. Created in 1879, this library was charged with maintaining the city's archives and a collection of printed reference materials. Commencing in the 1890's, a reform movement caused the Maryland and Baltimore governments to undertake far-reaching legislative actions. To assist the increased law-making activity, the Maryland General Assembly in 1906 established "a Department of Legislative Reference of the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore." Responsibilities of the new body included legal research as needed by city officials; technical preparation of legislation; acquisition of all available information relative to proposed legislation in the general assembly or the city council; and the preservation and indexing of all information obtained for official as well as public use.

In 1932 the City Library was abolished and its functions transferred to a Department of Legislative Reference. The separate Bureau of Archives, created in 1927, was also placed under the administrative control of the department. From this point, the Legislative Reference library focused its attention on collecting published material relating to Baltimore government, such as newspaper clippings, annual reports, proceedings, and secondary sources. The Bureau of Archives, later renamed the City Archives and Records Management Division, assumed statutory responsibility for the city's official records.

For additional information, see: Richard J. Cox, "The Plight of American Muncipal Archives: Baltimore, 1729-1979, American Archivist 42 (July 1979): 281-92; ord. 129 (1874); Laws of Maryland, 1906, ch. 565; and the Baltimore City Charter of 1964, art. 7, sects. 104-05.

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DateSeries NameDescriptionMSA Citation
  Details1830-1980Subject Files Files relate to all aspects of Baltimore history and government. The material was collected and maintained by the Department of Legislative Reference library from about 1906 to February 1980. Items include various printed materials, newspaper clippings, and assorted manuscript and typescript records. Varying amounts and types of material are available for each subject covered. A complete listing of files is available at the Baltimore City Archives (BCA 1090). There are several maps in oversize materials.BRG29-1
  Details1947-1990City Archives Administrative Files

Material includes incoming and outgoing correspondence, reports, records schedules, and specialized documentation relating to administrative and operational functions of the archives. Subjects include microfilming, all phases of records disposition (both historical and current), personnel matters, interaction with other city agencies, records surveys, research requests, technical equipment standards, improvement and expansion of archives facilities, and professional organization activities.

Also included is a reel of microfilm (BCA 232) containing correspondence relating to the committee for safeguarding city records, records survey reports, and an assortment of general administrative items, 1914-1954. Photographs of records storage in City Hall, 1956-64, are available at the Peale Museum.

A container list is available.

  Details1953-1954Records Engineering, Inc. Survey Reports

Unpublished reports done by this private consulting firm on the records of twenty-nine municipal agencies between June 1953 and March 1954. It was on the basis of these reports that a records management division was created in 1954. These reports provide an excellent summary of the management of current records in the municipal government.

These volumes are available in the archivist's office.

  Details1891-1910City Library FilesPrimarily incoming letters on purchases of stationary and office supplies for city departments, requests for publications or information, and management of the library. There are also small groupings of receipts and orders and ordinances and resolutions associated with the library.BRG29-4
  Details1965-1992Newsletters (Miscellaneous)Newsletters published by various organizations and government offices (federal, state, and county) that relate to the City of Baltimore.BRG29-5
  Details1974Floorplans of Record CenterDrawings generated at the time of the relocation of. archival records storage operations from City Hall to the Terminal Warehouse. These floorplans outline the arrangement of records storage areas and office space and show locations of shelving, cabinets, and office and microfilming equipment.BRG29-6
  Details1962-1985Minutes, Agenda, and Notice of Meetings, Municipal Boards and Commissions

Each appointed board and commission established by the Baltimore Charter or Baltimore City Code is required to hold a minimum of one regular public meeting each year. Notices of meetings are posted in the Department of Legislative Reference and the department is also required to maintain permanently copies of minutes of all such meetings.

This series is comprised of the record set of these minutes as well as corresponding agenda and meeting notices. In addition it contains administrative orders and regulations and press releases from the Department of Transit and Traffic.

A file folder listing is available at the Baltimore City Archives.

  Details1972-1975Log, City Council BillsThis log, maintained by the staff of the Legislative Reference library, charts the progress of all legislation introduced into the city council, whether adopted or withdrawn. Information provided includes bill or resolution number; date of introduction; journal page number; committee and agency or agencies to which the legislation was referred; dates referrals were sent and returned; report recommendations of the agencies and council committees, journal date and page number for reports; date and time of committee hearing; date, journal page number, and outcome of vote for second and third readers; date of signature by the President of the City Council and approval or veto by the mayor; final ordinance or resolution number; and nature of final action on the legislation.BRG29-8
  Details1929Biography FilesFiles of newspaper clippings, information sheets, photographs, obituaries, speeches, brochures, magazine articles, and other publications providing biographical information. Persons covered in these files include mayors, city council members, elected and appointed officials and administrators, prominent city and state residents, and private citizens active in politics.BRG29-9
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