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Connecticut Governor records

 Collection
Identifier: RG005

Scope and Content

The collection consists primarily of records after 1909 ending with the administration preceding the most current, with each administration constituting a separate subgroup. Records prior as well as several dating after, appear as separate series. These include Executive Clerk, 1820-1985; Proclamations, 1630-1991; Correspondence, 1811-1933; Bond Registers, 1819-1899; Applications, 1848-1880; Miscellaneous Reports, 1850-1945; Commitment Papers, 1848-1948; Appointment Registers, 1871-1978; Commissioner of Deeds, 1879-1978; Office of the Lieutenant Governor, 1991-2018; and Requisitions and Waivers of Extradition, 1921-1982. Some of these series cross over several administrations.

Dates

  • 1630-2018

Language of Materials

The records are in English.

Restrictions on Access

Some of these records are stored at an off-site facility and therefore may not be available on a same-day basis.

See the Rules and Procedures for Researchers Using Archival Records and Secured Collections policy.

Historical Note

The State Constitution of 1965 transformed the Office of the Governor into a twentieth-century governmental chief executive officer, while retaining his function as commander-in-chief (captain general) of its militia that dates back to the colonial period. Elected for a term of four years, the Governor exercises powers common to chief executives: proposing legislation and reporting to the legislature; signing or vetoing bills; appointing or nominating commission and board members and higher judicial and executive branch officers; convening or adjourning the legislature during emergencies; and taking care "that the laws be faithfully executed," through budgetary powers and executive direction of state agencies under the office's jurisdiction.

Under the Fundamental Orders of 1639 and the Royal Charter of 1622, colonial Governors had limited authority and exercised personal influence over the other magistrates and the legislative body. The Constitution of 1818 provided for a distinct "supreme executive power" balanced by the legislature and the judiciary. It was not, however, until well into the twentieth century that the Governor became a full-time, active chief executive. Wilbur Cross was the first full-time Governor. In 1945, Raymond E. Baldwin was the first chief executive to occupy an official residence, a nineteen-room mansion, formerly owned by Dr. George C.F. Williams, located 990 Prospect Avenue in West Hartford.

Extent

3770.5 cubic feet

Abstract

Includes Executive Clerk, proclamations, correspondence, bond registers, applications, miscellaneous reports, commitment papers, appointment registers, Commissioner of Deeds, Lt. Governor, requisitions and waivers of extradition, and records of individual administrations beginning with Frank B. Weeks, 1909-1911.

Arrangement

Series 1. Executive Clerk, 1820-1989, 64 cubic feet. This series contains Executive Blotters, Executive Journal and Appointment Files. The Executive Blotter, also called the Executive Clerk's Journal, is an informal diary of the Governor's activities, including appointment notes, actions on General Assembly acts and resolutions, copies of correspondence, messages, and proclamations, with mounted copies of letters, documents, etc. The Blotters are volumes arranged chronologically. The Executive Journal is a more formal version of the Blotter. The volumes are arranged chronologically and each contains an index. Also present are files of clerk William F. Siering, Jr. consisting of Appointment Files, Legislative and Elections Files including receipts for bill transmittals, Special Elections, and General Assembly Bills.

Series 2. Unused.

Series 3. Proclamations, 1630-1991, 11 cubic feet. Printed copies of proclamations and official statements arranged chronologically. Proclamations from 1630 to 1973 are bound in volumes and from 1973 to 1993 are loose sheets in boxes. Each box contains a contents list. Drafts of proclamations 1851, c. 1871 and duplicated printed copies 1871-1932 are among the records of the Secretary of the State, RG006. Also note that both the State Archives and the Government Information Services unit of the State Library attempt to acquire proclamations and official statements from the Office of the Governor. The two collections may duplicate each other or fill in gaps.

Series 4. Correspondence, 1811-1933, 36 cubic feet. This series includes Incoming Letters, 1811-1933, Outgoing Letters, and Military correspondence. The character and content of the incoming letters vary greatly over the 123 years, as the authority and concerns of the Governors grew and changed. For the earlier years, to about 1860, most letters have to do with the appointment or resignation of minor officials, the management of the state militia, and the administration of the state hospitals, mental institutions and prisons. For the Civil War period, military affairs are dominant and the volume of letters is dramatically greater; the more significant military letters, however, are filed separately. After the Civil War, the bulk of the materials again pertain to appointments and to the management of state mental hospitals. Beginning in 1911, the most significant materials appear in the official records of the Governors, while letters in this series up to 1933 are considered to be "miscellaneous letters."

The incoming letters are arranged chronologically for the most part, though occasionally small groups by subject are found and there is a small quantity of miscellaneous and unfiled material at the end, consisting mostly of requisitions by governors of other states for the arrest of fugitives thought to be in Connecticut. The series contains a few drafts or copies of outgoing letters and some of the incoming letters carry endorsements indicating the nature of the reply. Although there is no index, or calendar, there is a listing of letters that fall outside of routine business of appointments, reports, or management of state business. These appear in a calendar that follows the detailed listing of this record series.

Outgoing letters, 1863-1911, 1925 consist of letterpress copies in bound volumes for Governors William A. Buckingham to Lorrin A. Cooke. Each volume contains an index by correspondent. There are also carbon copies of letters written by Governors Rollin S. Woodruff, George L. Lilley, and Frank B. Weeks. These letters are in roughly chronological order. Also, there is a letter from Hiram Bingham to Charles Hopkins Clark of the Hartford Courant.

Military correspondence, 1833-1889, consists of letters, mostly incoming, and some related papers from the Governor's office pertaining to military matters. The bulk of the material comes from the administration of Gov. William Buckingham during the Civil War. Included is U.S. Government general correspondence; War Department correspondence, including Adjutant General, Provost Marshall, and Quartermaster General; State Adjutant General; State Commissary General; State Agents. Also included are Muster Rolls of the Governor's Foot Guards, 1881-1889 and Applications for Admission to Military Hospitals, 1873-1882.

Series 5. Bond Registers, 1819-1899, 0.5 cubic feet. Transcripts of bonds executed by sheriffs and other officials.

Series 6. Applications, 1848-1880, 2 cubic feet. Letters of application for offices and promotions. Some pertain to surgeons and chaplains in the military during the Civil War. Most pertain to appointments as Commissioner of Deeds for Connecticut in other states.

Series 7. Miscellaneous Reports, 1850-1945, 2.5 cubic feet. Reports received by the Governor from various officials and agencies. Subjects included are elections, General Assembly actions, pardons, reprieves, and commitments to hospitals and asylums. Arrangement is roughly chronological.

Series 8. Unused.

Series 9. Unused.

Series 10. Commitment Papers, 1828-1948, 33 cubic feet. Primarily commitment forms concerning the examination and admission of "deaf, dumb and blind, disabled and insane" persons to state institutions.

Series 11. Appointment Registers, 1871-1978, 2.5 cubic feet. Permanent and temporary boards and commissions. Arranged alphabetically by entity.

Series 12. Commissioner of Deeds, 1879-1959, 1 vol. Records of Connecticut residents in other states.

Series 13. Office of the Lieutenant Governor, 1991-2018, 99 cubic feet.

Eunice Groark, Correspondence, 1991-1994, 3 cubic feet

M. Jodi Rell, Records, circa 1995-2004, 7 cubic feet

Michael Fedele, Records, 2007-2010, 16 cubic feet

Nancy Wyman, Records, 2011-2018, 73 cubic feet

Series 14. Requisitions and Waivers of Extradition, 1921-1993, 84.5 cubic feet. Includes both incoming and outgoing requests for extradition.

Series 15 - 19. Unused.

Subgroups 20 - 41. Official Papers of the Governors, 1909-2018.

The Official Papers of the Governors are arranged chronologically by administration. Governors served two-year terms until John Lodge (1951-1955) became the first Governor elected to a four-year term. From 1911 to 1925, papers were grouped by subject or name of correspondent and filed in numerical folders, with alphabetical card indexes. From John H. Trumbull (1925-1931) to John Lodge, most papers were filed alphabetically by subject. No researcher can investigate topics pertaining to Connecticut in the twentieth century without consulting the subject files, which often contain invaluable reports, constituency mail, and internal state memos and other communications.

In addition to these Subject Files, "Miscellaneous" or relatively unimportant correspondence was filed alphabetically by name of correspondent in a Correspondence series. Raymond C. Baldwin was the first Governor to hire a press agent. The Subject Files for his second administration (1943-1946) contain addresses, remarks, and speeches. The records of Governors James L. McConaughy and James C. Shannon (1947-1949) include Boards and Commissions Files and the records of John Lodge include State Agency Files. Beginning with Abraham Ribicoff (1955-1961) a greater variety of records begin to appear and the quantity generated by each Governor has expanded exponentially beginning in the 1960s with John Dempsey. Researchers should be aware that container lists can cover a hundred pages or more and are often broken into overlapping parts.

For the most part, photographs that came from the Governor's Office remain with the subject files. Itemized listings exist for Governors Dempsey, Meskill, Grasso, and most of O'Neill, but researchers should expect to find photographs scattered throughout the subject files. Researchers should also consult Picture Group 500 through the pictorial Archives Portrait index and other picture groups that pertain to state officials and groups and photographs of ceremonies. Please note that a photograph collection in RG69:10, Papers of Raymond E. Baldwin, Jr. consist largely of images taken while he was governor. See also the Portrait Index to published books in the History and Genealogy unit.

The Office of the Governor includes more than the Governor himself. Other offices serve the Governor directly and have records in the collection. Transfer to the State Archives, however, depended on the cooperation of individuals within the office. The collection is arranged by creating office, when known. Researchers should consult the finding aid for a particular Governor to see the records available. Researchers may need to consult a number of files to ensure locating the complete documentation about a topic. Files may carry over into the next administration especially if the new governor held a position with the former governor. This was the case with John Dempsey, who served as Executive Secretary to Abraham Ribicoff.

Subgroup 20. Frank B. Weeks, 1909-1911, 1.75 cubic feet. Incoming and outgoing correspondence.

Subgroup 21. Simeon A. Baldwin, 1911-1915, 11.75 cubic feet. Numerical files, alphabetical card index and unarranged appointment correspondence.

Subgroup 22. Marcus H. Holcomb, 1915-1921, 20.5 cubic feet. Numerical files with alphabetical card indices and bound volumes of correspondence concerning special session of the General Assembly to ratify the 19th amendment.

Subgroup 23. Everett J. Lake, 1921-1923, 7 cubic feet. Numerical files with alphabetical card indices and "personal file" of correspondence concerning personnel and political matters.

Subgroup 24. Charles A. Templeton, 1923-1925, 6.5 cubic feet. Numerical files with alphabetical card index.

Subgroup 25. John H. Trumbull, 1925-1931, 29.5 cubic feet. Chronological subject files.

Subgroup 26. Wilbur L. Cross, 1931-1939, 53.25 cubic feet. Correspondence, Chronological subject files and appointments to office. See separate container list.

Subgroup 27. Raymond E. Baldwin, 1939-1941, 19.25 cubic feet. Correspondence and subject files.

Subgroup 28. Robert A. Hurley, 1941-1943, 7.75 cubic feet. Correspondence, subject files and materials related to charges files against

Subgroup 29. Raymond E. Baldwin, 1943-1946, 44.25 cubic feet. Correspondence, subject files and miscellaneous unfiled materials.

Charles Wilbert Snow, 1946. Served for thirteen days following Gov. Baldwin's resignation on Dec. 27, 1946. It appears that no separate files exist.

Subgroup 30. James L. McConaughy, 1947-1948, 21 cubic feet. Correspondence, subject files, Report file of state agency, board and commission annual reports to the Governor, and appointment correspondence for boards and commissions. Intermixed the files of Gov. Shannon below.

James C. Shannon, 1948-1949, 21 cubic feet. Correspondence, subject files, Report file of state agency, board and commission annual reports to the Governor, and appointment correspondence for boards and commissions. Intermixed the files of Gov. McConaughy above.

Subgroup 31. Chester Bowles, 1949-1951, 5 cubic feet. Subject files. Boxes 528-532

Subgroup 32. John Lodge, 1951-1955, 58 cubic feet. Correspondence, subject files, state agency files and Governor's Conference Papers. 58 cubic feet.

Subgroup 33. Abraham Ribicoff, 1955-1961 111 cubic feet. Correspondence, subject files and special subject files including the 1956 flood, highway safety, the 1958 campaign, appointments, speeches and press materials.

Subgroup 34. John Dempsey, 1961-1971, 507.75 cubic feet. Correspondence, reading files, subject file, state agency file, civil defense files, transportation files, Governor's conferences, speeches and other related press materials. Also includes Dempsey's files as lieutenant Governor, executive aide to Gov. Ribicoff and as Mayor of Putnam.

Subgroup 35. Thomas Meskill, 1971-1975, 341 cubic feet. Correspondence, subject files, pending files, memoranda, "public interest" correspondence, and outgoing correspondence, agency files, legislative files, Governors' conferences, other intergovernmental relations, executive orders, speeches and other public relations materials, federal agencies, scrapbook and official statements.

Subgroup 36. Ella Grasso, 1975-1980, 366.5 cubic feet. Correspondence and subject files.

Subgroup 37. William A. O'Neill, 1980-1990, 144 cubic feet. Correspondence, subject files, photographs and related materials.

Subgroup 38. Lowell P. Weicker, 1990-1994. Constituent correspondence, press materials, and legal office files. The detail records listing for Gov. Weicker is in progress. Please consult with Archives staff for assistance.

Subgroup 39. John G. Rowland, 1995-2004. Scheduling, Executive Office, Chief of Staff, Legal Counsel, Communications Office, Legislative Office, Boards and Commissions, Constituent Services, Proclamations Office, Washington Office, Southwest Office (Bridgeport), Office of the First Lady, and Governor's Residence.

Subgroup 40. M. Jodi Rell, 2004-2011, 783 cubic feet.

Subgroup 41. Dannel P. Malloy, 2011-2018, 314.25 cubic feet.

Other Finding Aid

A separate guide entitled, Records of the Governor, 1820-1858, replicates the records listed here for Antebellum governors while providing greater background information.

Provenance

Unfortunately, many records or papers of Connecticut's earliest Governors left the office when the chief executive went home. In 1777, Silas Deane of Wethersfield wrote Governor Jonathan Trumbull that he knew of such cases and that one family of a former Governor was using official papers as wrappings for seeds. In 179?, the late Jonathan Trumbull's family sold the so-called Trumbull Papers to the Massachusetts Historical Society, containing official records relating to the colony, state, and territories of Connecticut acquired by Trumbull and his son through direction of the General Assembly. The Massachusetts Historical Society returned the Trumbull Papers in 192?. Though one volume had burned in a fire, the Society edited and published the collection as The Trumbull Papers. See Related Materials.

Related Material

Often researchers must consult private papers as well as official records because the distinction between the two is not maintained in practice. Researchers, for example, should also use RG 69:10, Papers of Raymond E. Baldwin, Jr., or RG 69:59, Papers of Abraham Ribicoff, when researching those individuals. There are also a number of small manuscript collections that contain materials related to various Governors. Researchers should consult the Manuscript and Archives Catalogue in the History and Genealogy Unit. Private papers of several Connecticut Governors are in other repositories. For instance, the Wilbur Cross private papers are at Yale University, and Abraham Ribicoff's private papers covering most of his political career are at the Manuscripts Division of the Library of Congress. Researchers should consult the National Union Catalogue of Manuscript Collections to locate these scattered collections.

The early Connecticut Historical Society, composed of elite families, acquired many collections of Governor's papers. The Society holds material, sometimes scattered, for the following Governors: Jonathan Trumbull (1769-1784), Matthew Griswold (1784-1786), Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. (1797-1809), John Treadwell (1809-1811), Roger Griswold (1811-1812), Gideon Tomlinson (1827-1831), John Samuel Peters (1831-1833), Henry W. Edwards (1835-1838), William W. Ellsworth (1838-1842), Chauncey Fitch Cleveland (1842-1844), Thomas Hart Seymour (1850-1853), Alexander Holley (1857-1858), William A. Buckingham (1858-1860), and Joseph R. Hawley (1866-1867). In the nineteenth century, it published volumes of Governors' letters.

The General Assembly funded a project in the 1840s to organize and index early colonial and state records. Researchers know the results as the Connecticut Archives, which most likely contains records of the Chief Executive. Researchers should also consult the earliest volumes of the published Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut.

Researchers should be aware of the immense variety of resources pertaining to governors available in the State Library. The State Register and Manual gives an up-to-date listing of governors and the years of their terms. The 1934 edition contains a good brief history of the office by then Gov. Wilbur Cross. There are few biographies of Connecticut Governors. Researchers should consult Christopher and Bonnie Collier, Literature of Connecticut History (Middletown, 1983), a useful annotated bibliography as well as the State Library catalogue. Excellent brief biographical sketches appear in Robert Sovel and John Raimo, "Connecticut," Biographical Directory of the Governors of United States, 1789-1978 (Westport, 1978), Vol. 1, 157-210. Additional biographical information appears in the History and Genealogy Vertical File - Biography, and clippings regarding events and issues of terms beginning in the 1930s are in vertical file clippings on the Mezzanine Level.

The Museum of Connecticut History in the State Library contains a vast amount of artifacts and memorabilia pertaining to Connecticut governors and their terms, most famous of which are the official portraits in Memorial Hall.

Individuals who served in a national office prior or after serving as Governor often have papers and records deposited with other repositories in Connecticut or elsewhere. Reference staff can help researchers locate guide and other sources necessary to locate these records.

Title
Governor Records, Office of the
Subtitle
Inventory of Records
Author
Finding aid prepared by Connecticut State Library staff.
Date
2007
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Connecticut State Library Repository

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