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(City Council)

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For the history of the Baltimore City Council refer to the history of the Mayor's Office (RG.9).

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Found 19 total items for this series.
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DateSeries NameDescriptionMSA Citation
  Details1797-1923Administrative Files

General administrative files of the bicameral city council. Indexed during the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration, Historical Records Survey, the records include petitions, memorials, applications for city appointments, general correspondence, correspondence with municipal departments, committee reports, ordinances and resolutions, messages between the two branches, communications to and from the Mayor, and council proceedings.

There is a separate HRS item index. After 1923 the administrative files were maintained in their original filing system and these records constitute Series 4 in this record group.

  Details1801-1984City Council Journal of Proceedings

Manuscript and published volumes of the proceedings of the first and second branches of the city council concerning the daily business of the two branches, including the receipt of and action taken on petitions, choice of members to serve on committees and communications to and from the municipal departments. The original manuscript volumes for the first branch date from May 31, 1802 to June 18, 1847 and those of the second branch from February 9, 1801 to February 16, 1853. The published volumes for the first branch date from 1828 to 1993 and those of the second branch from 1858 to 1921.The records preserved on microfilm (BCA 345-364) are, for the first branch from May 31, 1802 to February 1859 and for the second branch, from February 9, 1801 to February 18, 1859. A subject index covering the period 1801-59 is available.

A complete set of published journals, 1828 to the present, is in the Baltimore City Department of Legislative Reference library. There are no extant copies of the journals from 1797 to 1801.

  Details1818-1902Joint Council Convention JournalRecord of the council sessions jointly attended by the first and second branches including committee reports, communication to and from the Mayor, convention rules, and nominations to various city offices. Volumes are arranged chronologically. There are numerous gaps and overlaps within these years. Volumes numbered according to old City Library cataloging, ca. 1936.BRG16-3
  Details1913-2007Official City Council Files

Correspondence, reports, petitions, photographs and plats regarding ordinances. Ordinance 809 (1970) made the published volumes of ordinances and resolutions a legal record and only introductory bills with additional documentation (such as correspondence, petitions, photographs, plats, architectural plans, grant applications, consultant studies, transcripts and hearings) have been maintained. Correspondence and reports from city departments, city council committees, and amendments to the bill were published in the city council Journal of Proceedings until April 1977; for these materials refer to the journal indexes. Between 1955 and 1968 the journals were not indexed and for this period and the years 1919-27 (Baltimore City Archives) and 1947-present (Baltimore City Department of Legislative Reference) there is a card index arranged by subject and bill number.

The 1971 Comprehensive Zoning Bill 621 (Ord. 1071) is available on microfilm (BCA 4 04-5). For indexes to ordinances and resolutions maintained by the city council clerks see RG.16, Series 9.

A complete listing of extant records by bill numbers is available at the Baltimore City Archives.

  Details1797-1953Manuscript Volumes of Ordinances and Resolutions

Manuscript copies of all approved ordinances and resolutions with appropriate signatures, dates, and committee referrals.

Volumes for 1797 to 1863 are available on microfilm (BCA 406-15) with occasional gaps.

  Details1799-1969Miscellaneous ManuscriptsUnrelated group of documents received or created by the city council and previously maintained in its files. Includes bound manuscripts, 1805-29; list of council members, 1832-72; council reports from a committee on the reorganization of the Department of Public Works, 1969; and a special investigating committee on a street cleaning department strike, January 1941.BRG16-6
  Details1870-1893City Council Records IndexThe original office index of the administrative records of the city council. Although the identifying numbers assigned to the items are no longer applicable, these indexes provide an overview of subjects considered. Categories of items indexed include petitions, protests, communications from city officials, reports, and ordinances and resolutions.BRG16-7
  Details1905-1930Record of ReadingsRecord of committee bills and resolutions referrals, committee recommendations, dates of readings, and final actions.BRG16-8
  Details1841-1975Indexes to Ordinances and ResolutionsIndexes arranged alphabetically by subject or by ordinance number including the title of the ordinance or resolution and dates it was presented to the Mayor and approved.BRG16-9
  Details1826, 1834Records of the Funerals of Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de LafayetteBaltimore honored the memory of these two Revolutionary War heroes with massive funeral processions and lengthy orations. The documents which comprise this series primarily represent the expenses incurred by the committees of arrangement, appointed by the city council, in preparation for these city-wide expressions of mourning; also included among the Jefferson materials is a broadside outlining the order the units in the procession were to follow. Jefferson was memorialized in conjunction with John Adams in the ceremonies of July 20, 1826, both having died on Independence Day, sixteen days before. More information about the tributes paid by the city to the Marquis de Lafayette may be found in RG.29, Series 1.BRG16-10
  Details1851-1857Estate of John McDonogh

Ordinances and resolutions, legal decisions, receipts, documents used as exhibits in court, reports, petitions, and financial statements involved in the settlement of the estate of John McDonogh, a wealthy mercantilist, land owner, and philantropist.

McDonogh was born in Baltimore in December 1779 but left the city in 1803 at the age of twenty-three to explore the commercial opportunities in New Orleans, the rapidly expanding hub of the newly-acquired Louisiana purchase. He fared well in his adopted city, amassing a considerable fortune whose value at his death in 1850 was in dispute but has been estimated at five million dollars.

McDonogh left numerous bequests in his will. After these had been discharged, the remaining portion was to be divided equally between the cities of Baltimore and New Orleans. Each city was to select three agents annually to administer the estate and the funds derived from it; in Baltimore, this appointment was a function of the city council. The records that form this series were created in the process of the long and complicated fight to settle McDonogh's will; final payments were not made until 1859.

Two other documents relating to the estate may be found in RG.41, Series 6.

For further biographical information on John McDonogh see: Arthur G. Nuhrah, Where is John McDonogh Buried? (New Orleans: Private Printing, 1950); Address by John H. B. Latrobe on the Seventh Anniversary of the Founding of McDonogh School (Baltimore: John Murphy and Co., (1881); William Talbot Childs, John McDonogh: His Life and Work (Baltimore: Meyer and Thalheimer, 1939); and William Allen, Life and Work of John McDonogh (Baltimore: Trustees of McDonogh School, ca.1886).

Information relating to the settlement of McDonogh's estate may also be found in Moses Fox vs. The City of New Orleans and the City of Baltimore, argument of Randall Hunt, one of the counsel for the defendants; Supreme Court of Louisiana, City of New Orleans vs. the City of Baltimore, The American Colonization Society, and The Society for the Relief of Destitute Orphan Boys; Report of Brantz Mayer, William S. Peterkin. and T. L. Emory, agents of Baltimore for the sale and liquidation of the McDonogh Estate. May 30, 1859 (Baltimore: McCull and Slater, 1859); and the decision of the U. S. Supreme Court in the States of Louisiana and Maryland vs. The Executors of John McDonogh and the cities of New Orleans and Baltimore (published in New Orleans in 1852 by J. L. Sollee.

All the sources listed above are available in the Maryland Department of the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Ordinances and resolutions pertinent to the estate are listed under the heading "McDonogh Bequest and Fund" in William H. Brune's Index to the Ordinances and Resolutions of the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, 1797-1906 (Baltimore: Kohn and Pollock, 1907).

  Details1836-1837Maryland Canal Papers

Correspondence, payroll records, receipts, accounts for appropriations and expenditures, and other financial records of the Maryland Canal Company survey project. Numerous attempts were made to construct canals in the state; the project represented by these documents sought to link the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the City of Baltimore. Commissioners were appointed at the municipal and state levels to oversee the progress of the canal and they in turn selected a team of engineers to complete surveys, estimates, and reports to be used in the designation of the most suitable route. It is the expenditures of the engineers chosen by the commissioners appointed by the city council that are partially documented in this series.

For more information concerning the Maryland Canal see: Ord. 49 (1836); Res. 116 (1836); and the Laws of Maryland, 1826, ch. 180, and 1836, chs. 248 and 395.

  Details1896-1967President - Baltimore City Council Miscellaneous Correspondence

An artificial record series consisting of miscellaneous correspondence addressed to the President of the Baltimore City Council as chief representative of that body. The correspondence deals with a wide variety of subjects. The bulk of the correspondence falls between 1939-1947 and is addressed to either the Honorable George Sellmayer or C. Markland Kelly, Presidents of the Baltimore City Council during this period. There is also correspondence from three Baltimore Mayors: Howard Jackson, Theodore McKeldin, and Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr. With regard to the latter there is his letter of resignation from the city council due to his election to the Seventy-Sixth Congress (21 December 1938).

A separate list is available at the Baltimore City Archives.

  Details1972-1982Walter Orlinsky Administrative Files

Walter Orlinsky was President of the Baltimore City Council from 1972 until his resignation on October 18, 1982. The bulk of the files cover the years 1979 to 1982. They contain correpondence with federal, state, and local leaders. Topics discussed include: construction of a subway system, prison overcrowding, exodus of business and industry from the city, and the development of the Inner Harbor.

A container listing is available at the Baltimore City Archives.

  Details1982-1987Clarence "Du" Burns Adminstrative Files

Clarence "Du" Burns became President of the City Council on October 18, 1982 with the resignation of President Walter Orlinsky. In November 1983 Burns was elected to the office in his own right. Burns became Mayor on January 26, 1987, succeeding Mayor William Donald Schaefer who resigned after being elected Governor of Maryland the previous November.

The files contain correspondence with business, civic, and government officials.

There is a container list available at the Baltimore City Archives.

  Details1984-1986Clarence "Du" Burns Hearing SchedulesSchedules of bill hearings before various committees of the city council during the term of City Council President Clarence "Du" Burns. Recorded is: the name of the committee conducting the hearing; the date, time, and room number for the hearing; names of persons to attend; and a short description of the bill.BRG16-16
  Details1797-2008Published Volumes of Ordinances and ResolutionsPublished volumes of approved ordinances and resolutions.BRG16-17
  Details The Mayor's Message and Reports of the City Officers made to the City Council of Baltimore BRG16-18
  Details1995-1999Legislative Investigation Committee, Martin O'Malley, ChairmanVarious Legislative Investigation Committee documents relating to the City Housing Authority and the City Police Department. BRG16-19
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