History of City Clerks

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  • The City Clerk, along with the Tax Collector, is the oldest of municipal servants, predating biblical times and the written word.
  • Early keepers of the archives were often called "Remembrancers" and before writing came into use, their memory was the public record.
  • Ancient Greece had a City Secretary who read official documents publicly and who, at the beginning of meetings, proclaimed a curse on anyone who should seek to deceive the people.
  • The title as we know it derived from the Middle Ages. A "Clerk" was any member of a religious order, a "cleric" or "clergyman." The clergy were the scholars during the time.
  • The Office of Clerk can be traced back to 1272 A.D. in the History of the Corporation of Old London.
  • In the 1500's in England, there was not only the "Towne Clarke" but also the "Clerc Comptroller of the King's Honorable Household."
  • In 1603, there was a "Clarke General of the Armie"; King Henry the Eighth had a "Clarke Of the Spicery," and King Charles had his "Clerk of the Robes."
  • When the early colonists came to America, they set up forms of local government to which they were accustomed, and the office of Clerk was one of the first established.
  • Today, there is a City Clerk in every incorporated city or township in the United States, and there are Clerks in cities around the world.

 

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