Monday, November 2, 2009

Profiles of Legislators

The State Library has a Legislative Biography file with information on legislators going back to the 1700's on 3 x 5 index cards. Over the decades staff recorded data about each person serving in the General Court. Recently someone called the State Library and asked for information on Captain John Bayley from Maine. Maine was part of Massachusetts until March 15, 1820. The information I found on Capt. John Bayley's card is:

Massachusetts House of Representatives: 1791.

Birth place and date: Weymouth, Feb. 2, 1737; son of Rev. James and Sarah Bayley

Occupation: Farmer and soldier

Death place and date: Woolwich, ME on July 29, 1813

This card file is currently being digitized for the Library's electronic collection.

Other biographical sources are the Official Gazette for the years 1885 through 1890, the Souvenir of Massachusetts Legislators covering 1893 through 1917, and the Bird Book (a series of volumes published under various titles) for 1908 to the present. All contain brief profiles. Photographs of individuals began appearing in 1908. These items are accessible through the Library's digital collections.

Naomi Allen, Reference Librarian