Years ago, I wrote a blog aimed at helping State Library patrons find information about early corporations in Massachusetts. Requests for help locating old and newer articles of organization and other types of corporate filings continue to be received by the Library via our Reference Department, and I decided it was a good time to revisit the subject. The history of state law governing incorporation in Massachusetts is complicated, and I don’t dare attempt to be exhaustive on the subject; however, context is important in understanding which state agencies were responsible for overseeing filings, as well as understanding the filing laws as they pertain to certain business sectors.
Today filings are handled by the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Corporations Division, but this wasn’t always the case. Using helpful resources, including those compiled by the Massachusetts Archives, I put together a basic timeline that tracks the filing laws of corporations and charitable organizations. It is my hope that this timeline will help researchers understand how filings were submitted over time and where they might be located.
The State Library has also added a new corporations research page to its website, where users can download a pdf of the timeline complete with clickable URLs to the laws outlined as well as important collections and databases: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/researching-massachusetts-corporations
If you have any questions about the timeline or the resources highlighted, you can contact the Reference Department via email at email@example.com.