Monday, October 28, 2013

Parliamentary Procedure: Manuals and Rules Congress, State Legislatures, Organizations

Parliamentary  procedure, sometimes called parliamentary practice, is applied to a code of reference, a book or manual, that contains parliamentary rules that are adopted for use by varying  organizations. Three distinct groups use this form of practice as described below.

Manual of Parliamentary Practice for the Use of the Senate of the United States was written by Thomas Jefferson in 1801. This is the first American book on parliamentary procedure.
Jefferson studied parliamentary procedure at the College of William and Mary.

In 1828, the Senate published a version of “Jefferson’s Manual,” eliminating the Senate Rules. Then starting in 1888 through 1977, the Senate Manual included Jefferson’s Manual in the biennial editions. The Senate removed Jefferson’s Manual because their manual was growing in a section entitled “General and Permanent Laws Relating to the United States Senate.”

The House of Representatives incorporated Jefferson’s Manual into its rules starting in 1837. The House prints an abridged version entitled Constitution, Jefferson’s Manual and Rules of the House of Representatives. This version is online starting with the 104th Congress in 1995 to the present time. The State Library has the current  paper edition at the Reference Desk.

Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure is the only publication designed for state legislature. It is published by NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) and is divided into ten parts: including Parliamentary Law and Rules; Rules Governing Particular Motions; Quorum, Voting and Elections; Conduct of Business and Investigations and Public Order.

Mason’s is available for purchase from the NCSL bookstore, information about the publication can be found here. The State Library has a copy at the Reference Desk.

Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, was originally published in 1876 by General Henry Martyn Robert who was involved in church and civic organizations and had studied parliamentary law. Its original title was: Pocket Manual of Rules for Deliberative Assemblies. There has been 11 revised editions of the rules starting in 1876.

The cover states that Robert’s is “the only current and authorized edition of the classic work on parliamentary  procedure.” The book is primarily designed for societies. The most current edition recognized that technology has created change. The index has references to emails, videoconferences and teleconferences.

The State Library welcomes all to room 341 of the State House from 9am to 5pm, Mondays through Fridays.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Atlas of the Heavens

Delphinus, Equuleus, and Antinous Constellations
 During the nineteenth century, the State Library’s collection policy brought in publications in a wide range of topics and formats. One such example is a beautiful volume for the study of uranography –a branch of astronomy that deals with making maps of the constellations– entitled Atlas of the Heavens; Showing the Places of the Principal Stars, Clusters and Nebulae (1849).
Sagittarius Constellations
 This book features 18 plates of constellations printed on a blue background. Created by Erza Otis Kendall, the plates show the principal stars in each constellation forming animal and human shapes. The illustration at left shows the Sagittarius constellation. The one above shows the Delphinus (Dolphin), Equuleus (Little Horse) and Antinous constellations. (While Delphinus and Equuleus constellations remain among the 88 modern constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union, Antinous is no longer in use by astronomers).

This book of plates accompanies E. Otis Kendall’s Uranography: or, a Description of the Heavens; Designed for Academies and Schools, published by E.H. Butler & Co. in 1849 and also in the State Library’s collections.

To see this and other titles visit the State Library, in the Massachusetts State House. The Library is open Monday through Friday 9 am to 5 pm.

Silvia Mejía
Special Collections

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Brown Bag on the Folly Cove Designers (1938-1969)

Join us for a Brown Bag Lunch
on Tuesday October 22nd, 2013
State Library of Massachusetts
Room 442, State House
12 until 1:30 PM

Bring your lunch and come hear Ingrid Swanson and Patsy Whitlock, Associates from the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, present “The Folly Cove Designers: The Spirit of a Place.”

The Folly Cove Designers were a group of 45 designer-craftsmen who worked together between 1938 and 1969 producing carefully wrought designs cut into linoleum blocks and printed (primarily) on fabric. Their common interest was in producing solid designs and in good craftsmanship.

The group was composed almost entirely of women, most being residents of Cape Ann and a majority having no artistic training prior to becoming involved in the group. They worked under the leadership of children’s book author/illustrator Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios (Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, Little House, Katy and the Big Snow), who devised a design course which she offered to her friends and neighbors in the Folly Cove neighborhood. Participants were urged by Demetrios to look to their surroundings for inspiration, to draw "what they knew" and to sketch their subjects over and over again until they made them their own. This illustrated talk will present the history of the group, examples of its work and brief biographies on a few of the practitioners.

To register, please go to:

You may also register by calling 617-727-2590 or e-mailing

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fall From Favor: Massachusetts U.S. Representative Charles Hudson’s Address to the Citizens of His District

The sum of my offending, as you all know, consists in this: I preferred Gen. Taylor to Martin Van Buren. I exercised the right of every freeman, and gave my vote in accordance with the dictates of my own conscience.

In 1849 in Washington D.C., Massachusetts U.S. Representative Charles Hudson of penned a 12-page address to the citizens of Massachusetts’ 5th congressional district, which he represented, regarding his retirement from office.  Still reeling from his (possibly expected) failure to secure reelection, and from the constant accusations hurled against him (“cowardice and pro-slavery, desertion and treachery”), the published speech was intended as an explanation and justification of the beliefs he held and the choices he made, as unpopular as they were among his fellow Whigs and supporters, during the latter part of his tenure in office.

As a member of the Whig party, which was prevalent in Massachusetts and other northern states, Hudson strongly opposed slavery and the further annexation and admittance of territories into the Union.  This was most apparent in 1845 when the annexation of Texas became a hot button issue in Congress.  Hudson and his fellow Whigs feared that Texas would eventually establish itself as a slave state and wield substantial congressional influence, putting northern anti-slavery states at a great disadvantage.  Despite the opposition’s protests, Texas was admitted into the Union during that same year.

Hudson’s fall from favor occurred in 1848 at the conclusion of the presidential election.  Three candidates were on the ticket: Zachary Taylor (Whig), Louis Cass (Democrat), and former president Martin Van Buren (Free Soil).  Despite Taylor’s party affiliation, he was a southerner and former slave-owner—which did not sit well with Whigs in the north.  Cass’ campaign favored the annexation of territories and threatened to not sign any bills that included the Wilmot Proviso, which went against the Whigs’ political policies.  Instead, they gave preference to Van Buren, a northerner and former Whig who chose to run as a third-party candidate.  Unfortunately, Van Buren’s unpopularity, resulting from his administration’s inaction during the Panic of 1837, was still high, and Hudson felt that a vote for the former president was essentially throwing it away; in other words, voting for Van Buren would ultimately benefit Cass.  Against his party’s wishes, Hudson, who argues that he “exercised the right of every freeman” and never swayed from his principles, voted for Taylor.  The backlash the legislator received from his fellow party members, supporters, and friends— who all felt he betrayed the Whigs’ political cause—was ugly and personal, and Hudson was not reelected for another term.

The original 1849 publication, titled An address of Charles Hudson, of Mass., to the citizens of the fifth congressional district of that state, on retiring from the Office of Representative in Congress, can be viewed in person in the library; it’s also available online

Kaitlin Connolly
Reference Department