History of the Town of Burlington Archives

Following are some key Town Meeting votes and events that brought things to where they are today.

Aug. 20, 1820
Town meeting voted "to see if the town will cause a book case to be provided to keep the town records in." Town meeting voted that "the Selectmen cause a bookcase to be made for the Town Clerk's office at the expense of the town." Throughout the 19th century the town periodically voted to purchase the necessary storage equipment, typically a "suitable bookcase."

June 13, 1825
Town meeting voted "to see if the town will choose a committee to copy any of the town accounts and get them printed or do anything respecting the same." It was decided to dismiss "the old committee and chose Mr. Calvin Simonds and Capt. Munro to copy and cause the town accounts to be printed for years 1823 and 1824." During the 19th century the town periodically voted to fund binding and copying the records.

April 11, 1960
Town Meeting proposed the installation of a fireproof vault. Unfortunately "after much discussion on this article nothing was accomplished and the same not voted."

Sept. 1, 1970
Board of Selectmen authorize the purchase of a steel-clad door for the record storage area in the third town hall.

Town Clerk Jane Chew initiated a records management program and prepared destruction requests for several hundred cubic feet of vault records. 213 cubic feet (170 boxes) of records were sent out for microfilming.

May 18, 1992
Town Meeting voted to allocate a total of $5401.60 for microfilming.

May 12, 1993
Town Meeting voted to allocate $5000 for a microfilm reader-printer.

May 21, 1997
Town Meeting approved funding for a part-time Archivist/Records Manager ($22,500) and microfilming ($3000) The position was filled September 1997 and primarily focused on inventorying and organizing the records in the vault and surveying the records in the town hall. Out of necessity, the majority of the efforts focused on the pending renovation and move.

Dec. 1997-Feb. 1998
The archivist/records manager focused on surveying the records of the ten town hall departments (Assessor, Building Dept., Board of Selectmen, Conservation, Dept. of Public Works, Engineering, Planning, Town Clerk, and Treasurer/Collector). Since the town hall was built over 30 years ago, most offices had active and inactive records stored in their immediate work areas. The total volume for active and inactive records was 1800 cubic ft. (equivalent of 1440 boxes).

Spring 1998
During spring 1998 five departments moved to the renovated annex and five departments moved to the temporary town hall. The temporary town hall offices had 75% less space, and there was a visible panic about where the records would go. 120 cubic ft. (96 boxes) of records were sent out for microfilming. 50 cubic ft. (40 boxes) of duplicates were eliminated from the town hall vault and over 500 cubic ft. (400 boxes) were eliminated from town hall offices. Thanks to the help of Carol Amodeo, custom-sized phase boxes were constructed for 19th century valuation books and numerous record series were refoldered. April 1998 the archivist/records manager and records management intern, Jenn Jacobsen, inventoried and scheduled approximately 700 cubic ft. (560 boxes) of records in Meadowbrook School basement.

May 18, 1998
Town Meeting approved funding for a part-time archivist/records manager ($24,450) and supply budget ($4500). Now the process of making a real archives began. The archivist began organizing the records so that they were easy to use and preserving them in archival-quality containers. The archivist continued cataloging and began indexing the records.

March 1999
The Assessor, Board of Selectmen, Town Clerk, and Treasurer/Collector moved back to the renovated town hall and the archives were finally in their new home, a climate-controlled, fireproof vault.

May 10, 1999
Town Meeting approved funding for a permanent, full-time archivist/records manager and approved an official records program. General bylaw 7.1 established a Records Management Commission; the position of Archivist/ Records Manager; and the Archives. The Records Management Commission consists of the: Town Clerk; Treasurer/Collector; Ways and Means Committee Chair; Historical Commission Chair; Library Director; Board of Selectmen Chair; or their respective designees.The full-time position started July 1, 1999.

Fall 1999
A fair amount of time was spent working with the Historical Commission on Heritage Day publications. The new rules and regulations and procedures manual were written and were adopted by the Records Management Commission in October 1999. With the help of two records management interns, Kendra Van Cleave and Rachel Wise, we tackled Meadowbrook basement and destroyed 187 cubic feet (150 boxes) of obsolete records. Vital records 1799-1900 and deeds and agreements were indexed on the item level. An invitation was put out for record surveys and to solicit electronic and paper copies of minutes.The archives is in the process of indexing town meeting minutes and developing an imaging plan for the next fiscal year. In between time is spent providing access to the records, processing, cataloging, and making things as they should be.

August 1-20 2002
The Meadowbrook School, which had housed town documents dating back to the 1940s was emptied in anticipation of asbestos abatement work. Archivist/Records Manager Daniel McCormack, who took over the office on March 25, 2002, undertook the disposal of 465 cubic feet of records. Approximately 91 feet were returned to the Town Hall and brought to the archives, while the remainder was physically destroyed.

Spring 2003
The archivist, together with personnel from the town's Building Department, began work on preparing plans for filming. Senior Clerk Judy Sorenson, together with Building Inspector Andrew Ungerson, assisted the archivist in beginning this project. Funding for the building department microfilm project came from a revolving account established by Town Meeting.

Fall 2004-November, 2008
Following the death of longtime town historian John Edward Fogelberg, his papers were transferred from his estate to the Town of Burlington Archives. The papers were processed during early 2005 and placed in the Town Hall vault. Fogelberg's papers included personal and business records, as well as information about his life and careers as a military officer, English teacher at Burlington High School and town official. Source material for his book, Burlington: Part of a Greater Chronicle was also returned to the town. Fogelberg's life and legacy was presented in an exhibit in the Town Hall that ran through November 2008.

November, 2008 – 2012.

The Archives continued its service to town departments, assisting with several notable personnel transitions and supervising the destruction of records on both electronic and physical media. The Archives began accepting electronic records on a revolving basis for safekeeping and as part of its overall disaster protection plan. By late 2012, the Archives had begun a realignment of its collections, transferring physical artifacts unrelated to its core holdings to the Town Museum while accessioning original documents held at the Museum.


To better store and facilitate access to its growing collections of microimages and holdings from other departments the Archives acquired used equipment from the Library and and received new microfilm readers/printers through an appropriation by Town Meeting. The Archives completed the transfer of physical artifacts to the Museum and assumed custody of records associated with the Land Swap/Grandview Farm project.