This guide describes the historical records of the Governor's Office that are preserved in the State Archives. From George Clinton to George Pataki, there have been 53 New York State governors.
About the Holdings:
- The records date from 1777 to 1992 and document the official activities of New York's governors and their executive staff.
- Due to the governor's role, the records document nearly every aspect of State government operations.
- See our online catalog for the records documenting the functions and operations of all the agencies under the governor's leadership.
What we don't have:
- Most gubernatorial records from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were not retained in State custody.
- Many of these records are presumed lost or destroyed
- Some made their way to other repositories
Governor's Records in the State Archives
- The New York State Archives holds State gubernatorial records spanning the years 1777-1992 and totaling over 4,300 cubic feet.
- Most governors' records in the Archives date from the 20th century.
- Over one third of all gubernatorial records, by volume, are Legislative Bill and Veto Jackets (1905, 1921-1992), which contain information on legislation sent to the governor for signature.
- Another third are Central Subject and Correspondence Files and Name Files (1919-1982) containing most of the correspondence files of the Governor's Office.
- Other records include governors' addresses, proclamations, press releases, audio and video tapes, and photographs; executive clemency records; appointment records; and records of special advisory and investigatory commissions that reported to the governor.
The law that authorizes the Archives -- Arts and Cultural Affairs Law Section 57.05-- does not expressly place Governor's Office records under the Archives' jurisdiction.
- Pursuant to Executive Law Section 5 (the language of which dates back to 1858), governors exercise discretion regarding the disposition and preservation of most of their records.
- Since the 1920s, most governors took measures to ensure that their records were preserved and available for research.
- Since 1978, the State Archives has worked closely with the Governor's Office to identify and preserve their archival records.