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Series Information
BALTIMORE CITY
BALTIMORE CITY ARCHIVES
(Miscellaneous Administrative Records)
1798-1939
BRG41

Series Description
This is an artificial record group, created to bring together documents representing the costs of municipal government. Undoubtedly the collection assembled here is only a part of what would have accumulated during the course of business and should not be considered all inclusive, but it contains a wealth of unmined records relating to the inter-relationship between city government and its residents (not all of whom were citizens, including slaves (prior to 1864) and incarcerated criminals in work gangs) employed to work on city projects or who provided services to the city.





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Found 6 total items for this series.

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DateSeries NameDescriptionMSA Citation
  Details1798-1925Reports and Returns

By far the most varied series in this record group, the reports and returns cover the wide spectrum of municipal functions and responsibilities. The assurance of the safety and good health of the city's residents is represented by the reports of a variety of inspectors (e.g. of butter and lard, wood, charcoal, turpentine, beef and pork, fish, flour, and gas meters) and those of bailiffs, police officers, and constables. City officials (e.g. the register and collector, harbor master, port wardens, commissioner of finance, and city librarian) also had to chronicle their activities and accomplishments. Routine operational such as the issuance of licenses, the collection of ashes and refuse, and the sweeping of streets and chimneys are represented as are the benevolent interests of the city (e.g. alms house, house of industry, and the Bay View and Mt. Hope asylums). Daily rents of market stalls and expenses for cleaning markets appear frequently along with the records of cases heard and fines collected by magistrates and justices of the peace. Many other miscellaneous items appear here in addition to these major categories, and this series accurately reflects the broad range of the municipal government's duties and its diversified operation.

A complete item inventory is available in the Baltimore City Archives.

BRG41-1
  Details1807-1939Bonds

Documents representing the payment of monies for surety of perfrmance of obligations. These bonds fall roughly into four categories: 1) for city officials or employees - harbor master, city collector, assayer of silver, superintendent of chimney sweeps, collector of refuse materials, city librarian, lamplighters, gauger of casks, school board principals, and firemen 2) for licenses - auctioneer, pawn broker, and operators of billiard, cramboli, and bagatelle tables 3) for provision of goods and services - paving, supplying oil or stationery to the city government, and construction of wharves 4) for financial transactions - city loans to railroad companies, sale of property, executors of estates, payment of park taxes.

Only a few bonds appear in most years but 1848-51, 1858, 1863, and 1903 have fairly extensive and representative quantities of these documents. Two non-indexed bonds have been included at the end of this series.

A complete item inventory is available in the Baltimore City Archives.

BRG41-2
  Details1811-1923Bills, Vouchers, Checks, and Payrolls

Documents representing the finances of the municipal government's routine transactions. Bills are present in large quantities, often with several hundred grouped under a single HRS number. The city incurred charges for a wide variety of items and services including printing, paving, killing dogs, fire plugs, wharves, equipment and supplies, quarantines, and labor to improve the Baltimore harbor. Vouchers are also documents submitted for payment, but these items were individually numbered, where the bills were not. In general, the vouchers cover charges that were allocated to specific appropriations.

Cancelled checks represent payments for the various bills and vouchers and other obligations incurred by the city.

The payrolls, which form the final component of this series, do not cover all city employees and are not present for each year.

Examples of people employed by the City represented here include jurors, street cleaners, Lamplighters, and janitors at city hall, but there are vast unexplored areas of city expenditures here that bear on documenting the contributions of the City population to public works projects, landscaping the city through public parks, the development of public transportation that remain inaccessible to researchers without item level analysis and access that has yet to be provided.

BRG41-3
  Details1825-1917Insurance PoliciesExpired insurance policies taken out in the name of the mayor and city council. The majority are for fire insurance, guarding against loss or damage to a variety of City-owned buildings and equipment (Bay-View Asylum, police stations, fire engine houses, dredging machines, markets, City Hall, tugboats, and school buildings). This series also includes property title guarantees for land the municipal government acquired, liability and accident policies for playgrounds, occasional life insurance policies, and one policy insuring the municipal government against loss or damage caused by the explosion, collapse or rupture of the boilers at the court house and the public baths. Receipts for premium payments are attached to some of the policies or a list of payments made may have been kept on the back.BRG41-4
  Details1815-1921Court Records

Legal documents and related materials generated in various courts in the city and state systems representing both issues involving the municipal government and those between private parties. Types of documents included are bills of complaint, arrest warrants, promissory notes, extracts from court dockets, opinions and appeal decisions, lists of expenses incurred and fees received, affadavits, depositions, excerpts of proceedings, vouchers for payment of court costs or juror allowances, summonses, court orders, wills, reports, correspondence, notices of liens, certificates of incorporation, mortgages, and certifications of registration of wills.

These records have evolved primarily from the municipal courts including the Criminal Court, Superior Court, Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Appeal Tax Court, and the Baltimore City Court. Those of Baltimore County are also well represented, particularly the Orphans Court and the Baltimore County Court. Also appearing frequently are documents generated by the Maryland Court of Appeals and the Harford County Court. Records from other legal offices, such as the High Constables, Register of Wills, City Counsellor, Clerk of the Baltimore City Court, and Justices of the Peace of Baltimore City and County, form a small part of this series.

Other records relating to the Appeal Tax Court may be found in RG 5.

BRG41-5
  Details1807-1927Miscellaneous Administrative Papers

This is an artificial series, composed of documents which the Historical Records Survey was unable to relate satisfactorily to other groups of material within its annual numerical sequences. Correspondence, reports, regulations, legal documents, lists, tax bills, minutes, leases, drafts of resolutions, broadsides and publications, petitions, registrations and licenses for boats, and receipts, comprise the majority of these miscellaneous records which have been maintained as a unit, with some exceptions, in order to correspond to the item indices prepared by the HRS.  It should be noted that many of the documents in this series pertain to other, previously established record groups and series (general assembly papers, mayoral and city council records, court papers, law department, reports and returns, and the fire department) and careful and thorough use of the item indices is a necessity to ensure examination of all relevant documents.

Items of a more miscellaneous nature include annual reports of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad; advertisements; a catalog for an auction of French fruit and ornamental trees; correspondence regarding a patent for a fire plug, accompanied by drawings, a petition of complaint against the city physician; a newspaper clipping from the South Australian Register; regulations of the Baltimore Cemetery; a list of hack and furniture wagon stands and one-horse carts; Clifton Park condemnation proceedings; and monthly accounts of dog redemptions from the shelter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

BRG41-6
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