Archives Guide ~ Office of the Mayor (0200)

Historical note

Boston was incorporated as a city on February 23, 1822 by Chapter 110 of the Acts of 1821. This act was adopted by the voters on March 4, 1822. The City Charter established the form of government as a Mayor; a Board of Aldermen, consisting of eight elected at large; and a Common Council, of forty-eight elected by wards; to be called when conjoined, ‘the City Council.” The Mayor and Aldermen were vested with the administration of the police, and executive power of the corporation generally, with specific enumerated powers. All other powers belonging to the corporation were vested in the Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council exercised by concurrent vote.

The Mayor served as ex officio Chairman of the Board of Aldermen until 1855. Section 29 of Chapter 448 of the Acts of 1854 , "an act to revise the charter of the City of Boston", provided for the choice of a permanent chairman by the Board of Aldermen who presided at all meetings of the board and at conventions of the two branches in the absence of the Mayor. The administration of the police, together with the executive powers of the corporation generally, all the powers formerly vested in the Selectmen of Boston, and all the powers subsequently vested in the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, as county commissioners or otherwise, were vested in the Board of Aldermen. The Mayor if present continued to preside but without a vote. All other powers belonging to the corporation continued to be vested in the Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council, exercised by concurrent vote.

Chapter 266 of the Acts of 1885, an act to amend the charter of the City of Boston, transferred to the Mayor the power to appoint, subject to the approval of the Board of Aldermen, all officers and boards elected by the City Council or Board of Aldermen, and all offices that may be established in the future. All executive powers vested in the Board of Aldermen were transferred to the Mayor to be exercised through the several officers and boards of the City in their respective departments, under the general supervision and control of the Mayor. The Mayor no longer would be a member, nor preside at any meeting, nor appoint any committee of the Board of Aldermen.

Chapter 449 of the Acts of 1895 provided for the election of Mayor for a term of two years.

Chapter 486 of the Acts of 1909 vested in the Mayor all the executive powers of the corporation. All heads of departments and municipal boards, excluding the school committee and those appointed by law by the governor, would be appointed by the mayor without confirmation by the City Council. The Mayor was elected at large to hold office for a term of four years.

Chapter 94 of the Acts of 1918 provided that the Mayor could not serve consecutive terms. This act was annulled by chapter 300 of the Acts of 1938 which provided that the Mayor of Boston shall be eligible for election for the succeeding term.

0200.001 Addresses 1822-1980 with gaps 4 document cases and 2 volumes

Scope and Contents note
Includes two compilation volumes of adresses from 1822-1867 and printed copies of annual and inaugural addresses of the Mayor from 1824-1980 with gaps.

0200.002 Boston Tercentenary Committee records 1830, 1930 4 volumes, 2 document cases, 1 flat box

Scope and Contents note
Records of the Tercentenary Celebration of Boston in 1930. Includes time capsule created at the Bicentennial Celebration of 1830 to be opened in 1930 which contains an account of the celebration, proceedings, map of Boston and a letter from the Chief Marshal of the 1830 parade to the Chief Marshal of the 1930 parade. Records of the Tercentenary Celebration include tickets, invitations, programs, publications and scrapbooks of news clippings.

Finding aid

0200.003 Complaint register 1885-1888 1 volume

Scope and Contents note
Register recording complaints made to the Mayor's Office from 1885-1888. Includes date, name of person, complaint and disposition.

0200.004 Boston 200 publications 1973-1977 22 volumes

Scope and Contents note
Publications produced by the Boston 200 Committee, which was created to organize the celebration of the Bicentennial of the United States in Boston. Includes an official guidebook, final report, the neighborhood history series and other publications.

0200.005 Executive Department Reports 1890-1911 with gaps 39 volumes

Scope and Contents note
Bound volumes of departmental annual reports submitted to the Mayor. Annual reports can also be found in the City Documents series.

0200.006 Publications circa 1895-2000 125 volumes

Scope and Contents note
Collection of publications produced by the Mayor's Office and various offices within the Mayor's Office on many topics relating to Boston.

0200.007 "City Record" 1898-2010 with gaps 107 volumes and 6 record cartons

Scope and Contents note
The "City Record" is the Official Chronicle of the City of Boston. This periodical publishes the municipal news, notices and all advertisements for the procurement of goods, materials and services for the City of Boston that are estimated to equal or exceed $10,000. It is published weekly under the direction of the Mayor in accordance with legislative act and city ordinance. The "City Record" was initially under the management of the Statistics Department from 1898-1900. It was established by Chapter 2 of the Ordinances of 1898. Publication was discontinued on May 8, 1900. The publication was re-established in 1909 in accordance with the City Charter of 1909 (Sections 29 and 30 of Chapter 486). Publication resumed on August 14, 1909. Includes bound volumes of issues of the City Record from 1898-1900, 1909-1960, 1972 October-1980 and 1984-1988 and loose copies of the City Record from 1969-1988 with gaps and 2000-2010 with gaps.

0200.008 Circular letters 1930-1974 with gaps 1 record carton

Scope and Contents note
Letters sent by the Mayor to all department heads.  The volume containing 1964-1974 is missing circular letters.

0200.020 Bills relating to the Anthony Burns case 1854-1855 1 folder

Scope and Contents note
Includes bills and receipts in connection with the military services of various cavalry, infantry,  and artillery units of the Massachusetts Volunteer Militia. Payments are detailed for ammunitions supplies such as musket balls, carbine cartridges, and ball cartridges purchased from William Read Co. Also includes several writs of attachment which seem to have resulted from a contractual dispute over unpaid bills for refreshments for the Light Guards.

0200.021 Recruiting Committee publication 1863 1 volume

Scope and Contents note
Published by order of the Recruiting Committee: "Recruiting System of the City of Boston together with a Statement of the Bounty Paid to Volunteers by the State and United States."

0235.001 Mayor John F. Fitzgerald publications 1913-1914 2 volumes

Scope and Contents note
One published volume of "Letters and Speeches of the Honorable John F. Fitzgerald, 1906-1907, 1910-1913" and one published volume of "The Advance of Boston-a Pictorial Review of Municipal Progress of this City during Four Years 1910-1913."

0237 Mayor James M. Curley

Biographical note
James Michael Curley was the 37th Mayor of Boston and served four terms: 1914-1917, 1922-1925, 1930-1933 and 1946-1949. James Michael Curley was born in Boston on November 20, 1874. He attended Boston Public Schools and worked for a grocer after graduation. He entered politics when he was elected as a member of the Common Council for the 1900-1901 term. He married Mary E. Herlihy on June 27, 1906. After his first wife died, he married Gertrude Casey Dennis in 1937. James Michael Curley died on November 12, 1958.

James Michael Curley was elected to the following offices: Member, Boston Common Council, 1900-1901; Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1902-1903; Boston of Aldermen, 1904-1909; member, Boston City Council, 1910-1911; member Sixty-second and Sixty-third Congresses, 1911-1915, Twelfth District, Resigned February 2, 1914; Mayor of Boston, 1914-1917; reelected for terms 1922-1925 and 1930-1933. Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for term 1935-1936; member of Seventy-eighth and Seventy-ninth Congresses, 1943-1945, Eleventh Massachusetts District; and Mayor of Boston, 1946-1949.

Source: "Boston's 45 Mayors from John Phillips to Kevin H. White", City Record Office, 1979.

0237.001 Memorabilia circa 1900-1949 3 folders and 1 volume

Scope and Contents note
Includes photograph of James Michael Curley, Jr., 1907; photograph of Mary Herlihy (Mrs. James M. Curley), undated; invitations and campaign literature, circa 1922-1931; Gubernatorial inaugural address, 1936; and Mayor's Engagement register, 10 July-31 December 1949.

0237.002 Sound recording 1 flat box

Scope and Contents note
"Mr. Boston" Six Notable Addresses by the Honorable James M. Curley. A Speech Arts Studio Recording, Radio City, New York, 1952. Includes "Boston's Greetings"; "The Forgotten Man"; "A Tribute to Lincoln"; "Tribute to the Jewish People"; "Contribution of the Irish"; and "The Elks Toast".

0237.003 Photograph circa 1930 1 framed photograph

Scope and Contents note
Unidentified photograph of Mayor Curley at a Parade Stand by the Paul Revere Mall in the North End.

0240 Mayor Frederick W. Mansfield

Biographical note
Frederick W. Mansfield, mayor of Boston from 1934-1937, led the city in the midst of the Great Depression. Though disadvantaged by a mounting welfare burden and rampant unemployment, Mansfield was able to bring about significant changes to Boston. Using the federal Works Progress Administration to the cities advantage he was able to bring about the Hunting Avenue subway extension, Huntington avenue underpass, and upgrades to various city parks. Additionally, the Mansfield administration saw to the construction of the City Hospital surgical building, reconstruction of Faneuil Hall, opening of seven new schools, and a reduction in the cities debt while modernizing the city accounting and auditing systems.

Often, Mansfield would take his political appeals to the radio where he would broadcast right out of the mayor's office in Old City hall. Though unsuccessful in reducing the bureaucracy that slowed city reform, he was very progressive in his ideals. He was a strong advocate for a sales tax on non-necessities and an increased focus on creating low-income housing instead of substandard housing, both of which became governmental standards.

Before his time as mayor, Mansfield was the first Democrat to be elected state treasurer in 1914. Additionally, he served 12 years on the State Judicial council and 29 years as counsel to the Boston Catholic Archdiocese. He remained a prominent member of the Boston political system until his death on November 6, 1958.

Source: "Boston's 45 Mayors from John Phillips to Kevin H. White", City Record Office, 1979.

0240.001 Mayoral records 1934-1938 12 record cartons

Scope and Contents note
Includes scrapbooks of news clippings documenting Mansfield's administration, ephemera, speeches and framed citations.

Finding aid 

0241 Mayor Maurice J. Tobin

Biographical note

Tobin’s political career began as a protégé to the famous Boston city mayor, James Michael Curley. While under Curley's tutoring, he was elected into the Massachusetts House of Representatives where he served from 1927 to 1929 at the age of 25. He served on the Boston School Committee from 1931 to 1937, where he subsequently ran for mayor of Boston in 1937, defeating Curley for the bid. His first few years as mayor produced numerous changes, including but not limited to: cutting expenditures, cutting department head salaries, endorsement of sales taxes, a debt reduction of $5 million, and the alleviation of wartime fiscal strains.

In addition to change, Tobin's mayoral term witnessed two major events in Boston's history. The first event was the hurricane of 1938 which killed hundreds throughout New England and overall caused $306 million in damages. The second event was the now famous Coconut Grove nightclub fire on November 28, 1942 which killed close to 500. These events lead to an increased focus on inspectional procedures that had oft been overlooked.

Tobin's first term as mayor ended in 1941 where he went for re-election against James Curley once more. He won his second term and would continue as mayor of Boston from 1942 to 1944. In the third year of his second term he, campaigned to become governor of Massachusetts where he would serve from 1945 to 1947. Though campaigning for re-election, he was defeated by his Lieutenant Governor Robert F. Bradford and therefore did not serve a second term. Tobin then went on to be a staunch supporter of Harry S. Truman for President. Once Truman was elected Tobin served as Secretary of Labor from 1948 to 1953. Maurice Tobin passed away at the age of 52 on July 19, 1953.

Source: "Boston's 45 Mayors from John Phillips to Kevin H. White", City Record Office, 1979.

0241.001 Scrapbooks 1937-1943 with gaps 4 record cartons

Scope and Contents note
Includes scrapbooks of news clippings documenting the administration of Mayor Tobin.

Finding aid

0244 Mayor John F. Collins

Biographical note

John F. Collins served as Mayor of Boston from 1960-1967.  The administration of John F. Collins during most of the 1960s led the city in development of 'the New Boston".  Mayor Collins coined the term to emphasize the era of downtown redevelopment and a start on neighborhood urban renewal along with a check on spiraling real estate tax rates.  His two terms in office also saw some major reorganizations in combining the Health and Hospitals Departments; reorganizing the Assessing Agency; creation of the Public Facilities Department; and helping to pave the way for state assumption of the welfare burdens of Boston.  Physically, the Collins era produced the new City Hall building and several additions to the Boston skyline.

Roxbury-born John Collins early seemed destined for public life.  After graduating from Roxbury Memorial High School, he went on to Suffolk University to win his law degree cum laude, and became a practicing attorney at age twenty-one.  Soon afterward, World War II broke out and Collins joined the army infantry.  Four years later on discharge he had become a captain in counterintelligence work.  Returning home, he won election to the House of Representatives from Roxbury and Jamaica Plain in 1946, and the next year married Mary Cunniff.  He served two terms in the House, two more in the state Senate, then as Democratic nominee for state attorney general, lost a bitter fight in 1954.  A year later, he became a candidate for Boston City Council.  A short time before the September primary a polio epidemic struck Massachusetts and other states.  The four Collins children and their father were stricken.  The children recovered, but the father was almost totally paralyzed.  However, he refused to quit the Council race and with the help of his wife, filling in as campaigner, the bedridden candidate won and took his seat at the first Council session the following January in City Hall.  After a little over a year of service there, he was appointed to a vacancy as Suffolk County Register of Probate.  he won election the next year, but in 1959 decided to challenge state Senate President John E. Powers to win the mayoralty.  Collins ran second in the preliminary election, and went on to win in an upset.  Mayor Collins easily won re-election in 1965.  A year later, he set sights on the United States Senate seat vacancy, but lost the statewide Democratic primary.  A year later he declined to seek a third term as mayor.

He was the first Boston mayor to be awarded an honorary doctorate of laws degree by Harvard university.  After his service as mayor, John F. Collins joined academia as visiting professotr of urban affairs, Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Mayor Collins passed away on November 23, 1995.

0244.001 Mayoral records 1960-1967 392 document cases

Scope and Contents note
Records of the administration of Mayor John F. Collins, 1960-1967.  Includes correspondence, subject files, reports, briefings, speeches, photographs and memorabilia.

0245 Mayor Kevin H. White

Biographical note
Kevin H. White was elected the 45th Mayor of Boston on November 7, 1967. He was elected to a second term on November 2, 1971, a third term on November 4, 1975 and a fourth term on November 6, 1979. Kevin H. White was born in Jamaica Plain on September 25, 1929 to Joseph and Patricia Hagan White. His father, father-in-law and grandfather all served as presidents of the Boston City Council and were long active in many areas of Boston political life. He attended Boston public schools and graduated from Tabor Academy, Williams College and Boston College Law School. He also studied at the Harvard Graduate School of Public Administration. He married Kathryn Galvin in 1956 and they had five children.  From 1956-1960, he served as assistant district attorney for Suffolk County. In 1960, he became the youngest man in the history of Massachusetts to be elected Secretary of State. He was reelected in 1962, 1964 and 1966. On May 26, 1982, Mayor White announced he would not seek reelection for a fifth term as Mayor of Boston.

Source: "Boston's 45 Mayors from John Phillips to Kevin H. White", City Record Office, 1979.

0245.001 Mayoral records 1968-1983 191 record cartons

Scope and Contents note
Records of the administration of Mayor Kevin H. White, 1968-1983.  Includes correspondence, subject files, briefings, alphabetical files, reports and publications, audiotape, videotape, photographs and memorabilia.

Finding aid 

0246 Mayor Raymond L. Flynn
Biographical note

Raymond L. Flynn was elected the 46th Mayor of Boston on November 15, 1983. He was elected to a second term on November 3, 1987 and to a third term on November 5, 1991. Mayor Flynn's career in public service includes four terms in the Massachusetts Legislature from 1971-1978. From 1978-1983, Mayor Flynn served three terms on the Boston City Council. He was chairman of the committees on Housing and Neighborhood Development, Neighborhood Services, the Special Committee on School Matters, Government Relations and
Government Finance.

Mayor Flynn served as Vice President of the United States Conference of Mayors and was elected President of the national organization in 1991. He served on the 1984 and 1988 Democratic Platform Committees and was Vice-Chairman of the Democratic Platform Committee in 1984.

After obtaining a degree in Public Administration from Providence College in 1963, Ray Flynn enlisted in the U.S. Army and served at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and at Fort Dix, New Jersey. He worked as a Suffolk County Superior Court probation officer from 1965-1970 where he investigated crime cases. Flynn was a trusted friend and political supporter of the late speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John W. McCormack, a fellow South Boston native. In 1968, he worked for the late Senator Hubert Humphrey as a personal family assistant in his presidential campaign. In 1981, he received his Masters Degree in Education
from Harvard University.

Mayor Flynn resigned during his third term on July 12, 1993 when he was appointed United States Ambassador to the Vatican by President Clinton. He served as Ambassador from 1993-1997. Flynn ran unsuccessfully for Massachusetts 8th Congressional District seat in 1998.

Mayor Flynn is married to Catherine (nee Coyne). They have six children: Ray, Jr., Eddie, Julie, Nancy, Katie, and Maureen. Mayor Flynn was born July 22, 1939, the son of the late Stephen Flynn and Lillian (Kirby) Flynn.

Source: Mayor Flynn records

0246.001 Mayoral records 1984-1993 216 record cartons

Scope and Contents note
Records of the administration of Mayor Raymond L. Flynn, 1984-1993. Includes subject files, briefings, correspondence, issues files, reports, photographs and artifacts. This collection is partially processed.

Finding aid

0246.002 Subject files 1971-1983 9 record cartons

Scope and Contents note
Subject files of Mayor Flynn during his years as a State Representative and a Boston City Councilor.

0247 Mayor Thomas M. Menino

Biographical note
Thomas M. Menino was the longest serving Mayor of the City of Boston. The first Italian-American Mayor of Boston, he was elected to his first term on November 2, 1993, winning 64 percent of the vote and 18 of the city's 22 wards. Mayor Menino was re-elected to a second term without opposition in 1997, won a third term in a landslide victory in November 2001. Mayor Menino won a historic fourth election in November, 2005 with 68 percent of the vote and won a fifth term on November 3, 2009. Prior to his election in 1993, he previously served four months as Acting Mayor and nine years as a District City Councilor from Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood. In March of 2013, Mayor Menino announced that he would not seek re-election.

A lifelong resident of Hyde Park, Mayor Menino is a graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas High School. In 1963, Mayor Menino earned an associate's degree in business management and advertising and sales from  Chamberlayne Junior College. In 1988, he earned a degree in community planning from the University of Massachusetts. Mayor Menino and his wife, the former Angela Faletra, have two children, Susan and Thomas, Jr., and six grandchildren.

During his tenure as Mayor of Boston, Mayor Menino has worked hard to improve the quality of life for all of Boston's 589,000 residents. As President of the United States Conference of Mayors from 2002-2003, Mayor Menino championed homeland security and housing availability. He has been an advisor to the National Trust for Historic Preservation since 1989.

In the summer of 2004, Mayor Menino brought the Democratic National Convention to Boston. The convention put a national spotlight on Boston, showcasing all that Boston has to offer. Estimates put the economic contribution of the convention at more than $150 million dollars and its positive effects will be felt for years.

Mayor Menino's reputation for getting the job done has earned him a high approval rating among Boston residents. Among his main priorities, are: providing every child with a quality education; creating affordable housing; lowering the crime rate; revitalizing Boston's neighborhoods; and promoting a healthy lifestyle for all city residents.

0247.001 Mayoral records 1993-2013 approximately 250 record cartons

Scope and Contents note
Records of the administration of Mayor Thomas M. Menino, 1993-2013. Includes briefings, correspondence, remarks and proclamations, speeches, press releases, neighborhood services files, photographs and memorabilia.  This collection is unprocessed.

0247.002 City Councilor records 1984-1993 6 record cartons

Scope and Contents note
Mayor Thomas M. Menino served as City Councilor for District 5: Hyde Park, West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain from 1984-1993. He served as President of the Council in 1993. Includes correspondence and subject files.

0247.003 Boston Marathon Bombing response mail collection 2013, 18 document cases, 6 oversize boxes, 2 flat file drawers, 1 shelf

Scope and contents note
This collection consists of international and domestic mail sent to the Mayor’s Office after the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing.  It includes letters, cards, posters, banners, gifts, and some printed emails.   Correspondents include government dignitaries and officials as well as members of the general public.  A large portion of the collection is comprised of mail sent by groups of children.

Finding Aid