New York State Board of Health Account Books

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

This series consists of account books documenting the disbursement of funds related to The Board's responsibility for reporting on and investigating health threats such as infectious diseases. Expenses included, wages and salaries; travel reimbursement; food, drug and disease analysis and testing; and office supplies. Entries may include: date; name, position; itemized charges; description of why or how the expense was incurred; amount of expense/disbursement; and total amounts by account, year, and/or appropriation.
2.2 cubic feet (10 volumes) (2 microfilm reels)
Inclusive Dates:
1880-1904, 1931-1935
Bulk Dates:
bulk 1880-1901
Series Number:


Chronological within different funds or areas of disbursement.

Administrative History

Chapter 322 of the Laws of 1880 directed the State Board of Health to make an annual report containing a detailed statement from the comptroller of all monies paid out by or on account of the board and a detailed statement of the manner of its expenditure during the previous year.

The law required the board to meet "at least once in every three months" and provided that members of the board, with the exception of its secretary, be unpaid but that "actual traveling and other expenses of the members and officers be allowed and paid out of the appropriation made for its support." The law stated that the board could "examine nuisances or questions affecting the security of life and health of any locality..." and could "engage suitable persons to render sanitary service and to make or supervise practical and scientific investigations and examinations requiring expert skill..." Expenses of such services were limited by the law, as were the board's total expenditures.

The board's responsibilities were expanded by Chapter 270 of the Laws of 1885, which required reporting on infectious or epidemic diseases, investigation of reported or suspected health threats, and regulation of health conditions to promote the public health and welfare.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of account books that document the disbursement of funds for expenses and services under regular and special appropriations made to the State Board of Health. The records include accounts for cash, requisitions, and general and special accounts. Also present (as inserts in volume 1) are copies of circulars calling attention to provisions of Chapter 407 of the Laws of 1881 and asking for information and voluntary reports on known or suspected adulteration of foods, beverages, or medicines sold to the public. Account headings reflect many of the major program responsibilities of the board.

Different funds or areas of disbursement include: wages and salaries of board members and staff; traveling and necessary expenses of members of the board; temporary and expert services, and wages for outside services; expenses of food and drug analysts (including freight bills for samples, office expenses, and traveling costs); special appropriations, especially to prevent adulteration of food and drugs (e.g., Laws of 1881, Chapters 24 and 407; Laws of 1882, Chapter 292; Laws of 1885, Chapter 176; Laws of 1892, Chapter 487); petty cash; requisitions for printing and stationery, telegraph and telephone costs, expenses for production of library materials, maps and charts, and furniture and various equipment expenditures; expenses for tuberculosis testing, including certificates of awards to owners of cattle killed by direction of a tuberculosis commission; a journal of daily cash expenditures of board members, typically traveling expenses for attendance at board meetings, visiting local boards of health, or the expenses incurred by delegates to national meetings (e.g., American Public Health Association); and advances made by the comptroller.

Entries in the books may include all or some of the following: date; name of account (board/staff member or company/vendor), sometimes giving title or position held; requisition date; itemized charges, sometimes with cost per quantity of item; description of why or how the expense was incurred; amount of expense/disbursement; and total amounts by account, year, and/or appropriation.

Typically amounts are entered at the right page margin, totaled at the bottom of each page, and carried forward. For accounts of the Board of Health with the State Comptroller (volume 1), which list credits advanced to meet expenses and cash returned from the amounts advanced, debits and credits are listed on adjacent pages. Quite often accounts are grouped according to specific legislative appropriation (year and chapter number are stated) to insure adherence to expenditure limitations imposed by law.

Pages are almost always captioned by fund name or area of disbursement. Frequent notes refer to continuation of accounts (usually for later dates) within the volume or in other volumes in the series. Most volumes contain a brief (often partial) table of contents. The contents are either listed separately, or within the alphabetical pre-printed volume tab index.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of the material.

Alternate Formats Available

A0779-79: Microform is available at the New York State Archives through interlibrary loan.

Related Information

Other finding aids

A0779-79: All volumes except volume 3 have brief (often partial) tables of contents.

Volume lists.

A0779-79: Reel list.

Access Terms

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