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Department of the Secretary of State

 Record Group
Identifier: US-MeSA-29

Scope and Contents

The Maine State Archives (MSA) collects and holds the permanent historical records of the Maine State Government. MSA was created in 1965. By 1971, MSA housed the historical records that had been held by the Secretary of State, Legislature, Courts and Executive Departments. This included records from defunct agencies.

With the implementation of a records management system, groups of records were identified as having permanent historical value and were sent to the Archives after a designated period of time. These included Commissioner/Executive correspondence, meeting minutes from Boards and Commissions, as well as department-specific records.


  • 1620 -

Biographical / Historical

The Secretary of State, as established by the Constitution of the State of Maine in 1820 (Article V, Part 2), “shall carefully keep and preserve the records of all the official acts and proceedings of the Governor, Senate and House of Representatives, and, when required, lay the same before either branch of the Legislature, and perform such other duties as are enjoined by this Constitution, or shall be required by law.”

The Secretary of State is elected biennially by joint ballot of both houses of the Legislature. In 1862, certificates of incorporation were required to be deposited with the Secretary of State, leading to the formation of a Corporations Division in 1870. The Elections Division was established in 1891 when the Secretary of State was designated responsibility for printing and distributing ballots to towns, providing returns and performing other duties related to elections. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles was established in 1905 to provide for the registration of motor vehicles by the Secretary of State. In 1919, registration of legislative counsel and employers became a function of the Secretary of State. In 1963, the State adopted the Uniform Commercial Code to be administered by the Secretary of State as a function of the Corporation Division. Also in 1963, the Department of the Secretary of State was first recognized under law with the Secretary of State designated as its executive head. The Maine State Archives, created in 1965 and administered by the State Archivist, was made a bureau of the Department in 1973.


3738.75 Linear Feet (5344 containers)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

State Agency Schedules

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Maine State Archives Repository

84 State House Station
Augusta Maine 04333