Century-old East Providence City Council journal is recovered, returned

Century-old East Providence City Council journal is recovered, returned

A look inside the historic East Providence City Council Journal recently found and returned to the City Clerk's office.
A look inside the historic East Providence City Council Journal recently found and returned to the City Clerk’s office.

EAST PROVIDENCE — An extremely important and thought to be lost piece of the city’s history was recovered and returned over the last few weeks.

The East Providence City Clerk’s Office recently received wonderful news regarding the return of a long lost original Council Journal from the years 1896-1898.  This journal was the only missing book containing Council minutes from the City’s historic documents.

On Tuesday, July 25, East Providence City Clerk Kim Casci received a phone call from Paul Campbell, City of Providence, Division of Archives and History.  Mr. Campbell informed the Clerk that the book was discovered in a second floor storage area of the Providence archives.
According to Ms. Casci, apparently, on May 29, 1986, the book was sent to the City of Providence from David W. Carmichael the Westchester County, N.Y. Archivist, who wasn’t sure why he had the book but was returning it.
It’s possible, Ms. Casci added, that Mr. Carmichael thought East Providence was a section of Providence. Once the book arrived in Providence it for some unknown reason was never forwarded back to East Providence.

“We can’t be sure how long the book was missing prior to 1986, if it had been sent out to be rebound, as the years prior and following 1896 had all been rebound,” said Ms. Casci. “Then perhaps this book was lost in the shuffle or it’s possible someone doing research inadvertently walked off with the journal. However, we are thrilled to have it back as it completes our set of Council Journals and we are so grateful to Mr. Campbell for returning it home.”

As Ms. Casci explained, a Council Journal contains the minutes from Council meetings held in the years listed on the binder.  The journals from the 1800’s are all hand written and contain original records and in some cases the only original record in existence of those meetings.

The Clerk’s office plans to send the journal out to be rebound as the other journals in the series have been.

Council Journal Highlights 1896-1898

Ms. Casci found some interesting tidbits of information while perusing the recovered journal. Some of those follow:

  • Page 29: May 6th 1896- A petition is brought forth signed by many residents of Bullocks point and Riverside requesting that Mr. George B. Boyden be granted a license to build the Park Hotel.
  • Page 56: June 3rd 1896- Miss Ada Case is granted an entertainment license to hold a Vaudeville show in Crescent Park.
  • Page 62: June 5th 1896- The same Mr. George B. Boyden requests a license to build the Crescent Park Floating Theater.
  • Page 380: November 3rd 1897- Judge George Bliss raises a petition requesting that the Union Telephone Company install a telephone in his home, for the convenience of the police and anyone else who may need to communicate with him.
  • Page 381: November 3rd 1897- Mary M. Brown raises a petition requesting the use of the Town Hall by the Young Women’s Christian Temperance Union to hold a lecture.  The Women’s Christian Temperance Union was one of the first organizations to address women’s rights, and laid the grounds for the suffrage movement.
  • Page 476: May 24th 1898- A petition by Veterans and citizens of East Providence is brought forward, requesting that in these “stirring times of war” an American Flag be raised above the Town Hall.