Physical description 1.78 linear feet (4 boxes, 1 oversized folder)
Preferred Citation Charleston City Council Proceedings on Microfilm, 1821–1980, The Charleston Archive, Charleston County Public Library
Repository The Charleston Archive
Compiled By Katie Gray, 2008
Access to materials Advance notice required. Request access to this collection.
  Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available online.

The 1783 legislative act to incorporate the city of Charleston, South Carolina, provided for the establishment of a Council of wardens (later aldermen, and later council members) to manage and regulate the affairs of the city corporation. The written proceedings or minutes of their meetings contain valuable information about the growth of the city, but they have been imperfectly preserved. The bulk of the manuscript journals of Council minutes kept between 1783 and 1865 are lost; only fragments remain of the manuscript minutes for the years 1821–22 and 1834–37. From October 1865 to the present, however, the city possesses an unbroken series of manuscript journals of Council minutes, along with manuscript indices covering the years 1865 through 1923. The city has published printed volumes of Council proceedings since 1883, and since 1923 most of these volumes have included indices.

The loss of the early Council journals represents a major lacuna in Charleston’s written history, but there is an alternative source for a portion of this material. Between the mid-1830s and the early 1860s, abstracts of City Council meetings regularly appeared in one or more of Charleston’s newspapers. In the late 1930s a W.P.A project attempted to transcribe these antebellum Council proceedings, and their unfinished manuscript transcriptions are preserved at the Charleston County Public Library.

All of the surviving minutes of the proceedings of Charleston’s City Council spanning the years 1821 through 1980 (including the W.P.A. transcriptions) have been microfilmed and are available in the South Carolina Room at the Charleston County Public Library. The following list represents an attempt to provide a guide for navigating this microfilm collection, and is divided into two parts. Part 1 presents the materials in a chronological arrangement, while Part 2 presents the same material according to their physical arrangement on the microfilm.

Part 1: Materials Arranged Chronologically

[M = manuscript, P = published, NP = newspaper]

Indices of City Council Minutes

  • 03 October 1865 to 31 October 1865 (Index & Journal together) [M, reel 1P]
  • 03 November 1865 to 24 March 1868 [M, reel 1P]
  • 20 July 1869 to 31 October 1871 (labeled); 21 July 1869 to 22 August 1871 (actual) [M, reel 1P]
  • 01 November 1871 to 30 December 1879 [M, reel 1P]
  • 06 January 1880 to 23 December 1889 [M, reel 2P]
  • 12 January 1890 to 14 June 1904 [M, reel 2P]
  • 12 July 1904 to 11 February 1908 [M, reel 2P]
  • 1915–1919 (indexed by page #, not date) [M, reel 2P]
  • 1919–1923 (indexed by page #, not date) [M, reel 2P]
  • Indexes included with published minutes from 1923 onward

City Council Minutes

  • 01 October 1821 to 29 August 1822 [M, reel 2P]
  • 14 February 1832 to 21 November 1833 [M/NP, reel 0M]
  • 27 December 1836 to 30 December 1842 [M/NP, reel 0M]
  • 11 January 1843 to 28 December 1849 [M/NP, reel 1M]
  • 3 January 1850 to 15 December 1852 [M/NP, reel 2M]
  • 4 January 1853 to 27 December 1855 [M/NP, reel 3M]
  • 9 January 1856 to 28 December 1858 [M/NP, reel 4M]
  • 06 November 1857 to 01 November 1859 (clipped from newspaper) [NP, reel 1P]
  • 4 January 1859 to 20 December 1859 [M/NP, reel 5M]
  • 01 November 1859 to XX November 1861 (clipped from newspaper) [NP, reel 1P]
  • 03 October 1865 to 31 October 1865 (Journal & Index together) [M, reel 1P]
  • 03 November 1865 to 22 October 1867 [M, reel 2P]
  • 29 October 1867 to 31 May 1870 [M, reel 2P]
  • 14 June 1870 to 29 December 1873 [M, reel 3P]
  • 06 January 1874 to 15 February 1876 [M, reel 3P]
  • 29 February 1876 to 31 July 1877 [M, reel 3P]
  • 21 August 1877 to 26 July 1878 [M, reel 3P]
  • 30 July 1878 to 30 December 1879 [M, reel 4P]
  • 06 January 1880 to 28 December 1880 [M, reel 4P]
  • 17 December 1883 to 12 December 1887 [P, reel 1J]
  • 19 December 1887 to 8 December 1891 [P, reel 1J]
  • 14 May 1889 to 08 March 1892 [M, reel 4P]
  • 14 December 1891 to 14 December 1895 [P, reel 1J]
  • 16 December 1895 to 11 December 1899 [P, reel 1J]
  • 22 March 1892 to 29 December 1893 [M, reel 5P]
  • 09 January 1894 to 10 September 1895 [M, reel 5P]
  • 08 October 1895 to 15 June 1897 [M, reel 5P]
  • 13 July 1897 to 22 May 1900 [M, reel 5P]
  • 18 December 1899 to 8 December1903 [P, reel 1J]
  • 12 June 1900 to 11 March 1902 [M, reel 6P]
  • 25 March 1902 to 14 June 1904 [M, reel 6P]
  • 14 December 1903 to 26 January 1904 [P, reel 2J]
  • 14 December 1903 to 13 December 1907 [P, reel 3J]
  • 12 July 1904 to 08 May 1906 [M, reel 6P]
  • 08 May 1906 to 28 January 1908 [M, reel 7P]
  • 16 December 1907 to 12 December 1911 [P, reel 2J]
  • 18 December 1911 to 10 June 1913 [P, reel 1J]
  • 18 December 1911 to 9 December 1915 [P, reel 2J]
  • 20 December 1915 to 5 December 1919 [P, reel 3J]
  • 15 December 1919 to 11 December 1923 [P, reel 3J]
  • 17 December 1923 to 12 December 1927 [P, reel 4J]
  • 19 December 1927 to 4 December 1931 [P, reel 4J]
  • 14 December 1931 to 9 December 1935 [P, reel 4J]
  • 16 December 1935 to 11 December 1939 [P, reel 5J]
  • 18 December 1939 to 14 December 1943 [P, reel 5J]
  • 20 December 1943 to 9 December 1947 [P, reel 5J]
  • 15 December 1947 to 11 December 1951 [P, reel 6J]
  • 17 December 1951 to 13 December 1955 [P, reel 6J]
  • 19 December 1955 to 8 December 1959 [P, reel 6J]
  • 14 December 1959 to 26 February 1963 [P, reel 6J]
  • 16 December 1963 to 12 December 1967 [P, reel 7J]
  • 18 December 1967 to 16 December 1971 [P, reel 7J]
  • 20 December 1971 to 10 December 1974 [P, reel 7J]
  • 5 December 1974 to 9 December 1975 [P, reel 8J]
  • 15 December 1975 to 10 January 1980 [P, reel 8J]

Part 2: Materials Arranged by Physical Location

Series “P”: Proceedings and Indices of Charleston City Council, 1857–1908

Reel 1P

  • Minutes clipped from newspapers, 01 November 1859 to XX November 1861
    • Miscellaneous articles: Standing Committees of Council appointed by the Mayor, 08 November 1859; Rules to be observed by the City Council of Charleston, n.d.; Bills of Mortality; manuscript minutes, 29 December 1860(?) and 12 August 1861
  • Minutes clipped from newspapers, 06 November 1857 to 01 November 1859
    • Miscellaneous articles: Rules to be observed by the City Council of Charleston, n.d.; Standing Committees of Council appointed by the Mayor, 10 November 1857; Reports of the Commissioners, 1859?; 4 pages illegible news clippings; newspaper articles re: State Lunatic Asylum; Medical College of the State of SC Commencement Exercises, 27 February1869 (first page only); Standing Committees, 08 November 1859
  • Index to Minutes, 03 November 1865 to 24 March 1868
    • Miscellaneous article: Distribution of Council Printed Journal, 20 January 1871
  • Journal of and Index to Minutes, 03 October 1865 to 31 October 1865
  • Index to Minutes, 20 July 1869 to 31 October 1871 (labeled); 21 July 1869 to 22 August 1871 (actual)
  • Index to Minutes, 01 November 1871 to 30 December 1879

Reel 2P

  • Index to Minutes, 06 January 1880 to 23 December 1889
  • Index to Minutes, 12 January 1890 to 14 June 1904
  • Index to Minutes, 12 July 1904 to 11 February 1908
  • Index to Minutes, 1915–1919 (indexed by page number, not date)
  • Index to Minutes, 1919–1923 (indexed by page number, not date)
  • Journal of Minutes, 01 October 1821 to 29 August 1822 Miscellaneous page at end
  • Journal of Minutes, 03 November 1865 to 22 October 1867
  • Journal of Minutes, 29 October 1867 to 31 May 1870

Reel 3P

  • Journal of Minutes, 14 June 1870 to 29 December 1873
  • Journal of Minutes, 06 January 1874 to 15 February 1876
  • Journal of Minutes, 29 February 1876 to 31 July 1877
    • Note: Regular meeting of 14 August 1877 cancelled
  • Journal of Minutes, 21 August 1877 to 26 July 1878

Reel 4P

  • Journal of Minutes, 30 July 1878 to 30 December 1879
  • Journal of Minutes, 06 January 1880 to 28 December 1880
  • Journal of Minutes, 14 May 1889 to 08 March 1892

Reel 5P

  • Journal of Minutes, 22 March 1892 to 29 December 1893
  • Journal of Minutes, 09 January 1894 to 10 September 1895
  • Journal of Minutes, 08 October 1895 to 15 June 1897
  • Journal of Minutes, 13 July 1897 to 22 May 1900

Reel 6P

  • Journal of Minutes, 12 June 1900 to 11 March 1902
  • Journal of Minutes, 25 March 1902 to 14 June 1904
  • Journal of Minutes, 12 July 1904 to 08 May 1906
    • Final meeting marked through with notation “See Journal 19" for May 8"55" meeting”; penultimate meeting dated 24 April 1906

Reel 7P

  • Journal of Minutes, 08 May 1906 to 28 January 1908

Series “M”: W.P.A. Transcriptions of City Council Proceedings from Newspapers, 1832–1859 (Originals: SCR 352 Cha)

Reel 0M

  • 14 February 1832 to 21 November 1833
  • 27 December 1836 to 30 December 1842

Reel 1M

  • 11 January 1843 to 28 December 1849

Reel 2M

  • 3 January 1850 to 15 December 1852

Reel 3M

  • 4 January 1853 to 27 December 1855

Reel 4M

  • 9 January 1856 to 28 December 1858

Reel 5M

  • 4 January 1859 to 20 December 1859

Series “J”: Published Journals of the City Council of Charleston, 1883–1980

Reel 1J

  • 17 December 1883 to 12 December 1887
  • 19 December 1887 to 8 December 1891
  • 14 December 1891 to 14 December 1895
  • 16 December 1895 to 11 December 1899
  • 18 December 1899 to 8 December1903
  • 18 December 1911 to 10 June 1913

Reel 2J

  • 18 December 1911 to 9 December 1915
  • 16 December 1907 to 12 December 1911
  • 14 December 1903 to 26 January 1904

Reel 3J

  • 14 December 1903 to 13 December 1907
  • 20 December 1915 to 5 December 1919
  • 15 December 1919 to 11 December 1923

Reel 4J
*Index included with Journal from 1923 onward

  • 17 December 1923 to 12 December 1927
  • 19 December 1927 to 4 December 1931
  • 14 December 1931 to 9 December 1935

Reel 5J

  • 16 December 1935 to 11 December 1939
  • 18 December 1939 to 14 December 1943
  • 20 December 1943 to 9 December 1947

Reel 6J

  • 15 December 1947 to 11 December 1951
  • 17 December 1951 to 13 December 1955
  • 19 December 1955 to 8 December 1959
  • 14 December 1959 to 26 February 1963

Reel 7J

  • 16 December 1963 to 12 December 1967
  • Annual Reports of Mayor delivered at conclusion of 1964–1967
  • 18 December 1967 to 16 December 1971
  • Annual Reports of Mayor delivered at conclusion of 1967 to 1971
  • 20 December 1971 to 10 December 1974

Reel 8J

  • 5 December 1974 to 9 December 1975
  • Annual Reports of Mayor delivered at conclusion of 1972 to 1975
  • 15 December 1975 to 10 January 1980