Research

Administrative and correspondence files

Held by the New York State Archives


Overview of the Records

Repository:

New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Summary:
The series consists of correspondence, selected meeting minutes, and related material documenting the work of the Constitutional Commission of 1890. Files include correspondence; meeting minutes; membership rolls; clippings on decisions and progress of the commission and its subcommittees; form letters with corresponding detailed replies to members of the bar seeking opinions on commission issues; and plans amending sections of the judiciary article.
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Quantity:
0.2 cu. ft.
Inclusive Dates:
1890-1894
Series Number:
L0205

Administrative History

Chapter 189 of the Laws of 1890 established the Constitutional Commission to propose to the legislature amendments to article 6 of the state constitution, which applied to the state's judiciary. The legislature has broad authority to propose state constitution amendments and to convene constitutional conventions. With consent of the senate, the governor designated members of the commission, which represented all state judicial districts. Judge Francis H. Woods was chairman of the commission. The commission investigated the workings of county, surrogate, and supreme courts. Issues included the organization and scheduling of general term departments; numbers of judges necessary to conduct court business (e.g. how many justices of the supreme court should constitute a department); if the Court of Appeals should remain as constituted; and whether election of judges should be statewide or according to judicial departments. Work of the commission led to adoption of a revised judiciary article.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of correspondence, selected meeting minutes, and related material documenting the work of the Constitutional Commission of 1890. The series includes: correspondence to the commission on recommendations for candidates to the position of commission secretary; manuscript minutes of commission meetings; rolls of commission members; newspaper clippings on decisions and progress of the commission and its subcommittees; copies of form letters to members of the bar seeking opinions on commission issues and correspondence replying in detail; copies of plans amending sections of the judiciary article; and letters replying to Judge Woods' request for autographed photographs from commission members for his collection (no photographs present).

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

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

Custodial History

The material is apparently from the files of commission chairman Francis H. Woods and includes a letter transmitting the material as a gift from his son, Thomas Francis Woods (an attorney practicing in Albany, New York), to the New York State Library in 1946.

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