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Secretary of State

Secretary of State

Secretary of State

Secretary of State

Agency Information

The Texas Secretary of State is a constitutional officer of the executive branch of state government, appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate for a term concurrent with the governor’s (a two-year term at first, a four-year term since 1974). The office was first created by the Constitution of the Republic of Texas in 1836, and has been continued by each succeeding Constitution.

The Texas Constitution of 1845 required the Secretary of State to “keep a fair register of all official acts and proceedings of the Governor” and to provide these to the legislature when required. This duty (and others) were reiterated in the act “to define the duties of Secretary of State,” approved May 9, 1846. This authority was reconfirmed by the Constitutions of 1866 (Article V, Section 17), 1869 (Article IV, Section 17) and 1876 (Article IV, Section 21), and subsequent amendments.

The Secretary of State has an enormous number of duties and responsibilities, including the following: authenticating the publication of all laws passed by the state legislature; approving comptroller’s accounts against the state prior to payment; maintaining a register of all official acts and proceedings of the governor, and all appointments to state boards and commissions; interpreting and enforcing the Texas Election Code, as the state’s chief election officer; keeping the Seal of the State of Texas; and maintaining many business-related filings, including corporation and Uniform Commercial Code filings.

Colonization records | Records of Legislative and Executive Bodies Prior to the Republic | Texas Legation (U.S.) correspondence | Department of State, Republic of Texas passports issued | Department of State, Republic of Texas Post Office records | Executive clemency records | City Charters and Amendments | General Correspondence | Legislative bills and resolutions filed


Texas Secretary of State: Colonization records

coming soon…


Texas (Republic). Department of State: Records of Legislative and Executive Bodies Prior to the Republic, 1835-1836, undated

draft Constitution of 1836

1st page of the draft Constitution of 1836

Creator: Texas (Republic). Department of State
Title: Texas Department of State records of legislative and executive bodies prior to the Republic
Dates: 1835-1836, undated
Abstract: Prior to the regular government established by the Republic of Texas Constitution of 1836, a variety of governmental entities, both legislative and executive, succeeded one another. Types of records include correspondence, reports, resolutions, decrees, ordinances, declarations, circulars, proceedings, minutes, delegate rolls, records of votes, rules, presidential addresses, commissions issued, a memorial, list of government officers, a resignation, and vouchers and receipts, all of the various legislative and executive bodies prior to the Republic. These governmental bodies include the following: the treasurer of the Ayuntamiento of Austin, citizens meetings and committees of public safety, the Permanent Council, the Consultation, the Provisional Government, the Convention of 1836, and the Ad Interim government, dating 1835-1836 and undated. The draft 1836 Texas Constitution in English and Spanish that is part of Series 69: Acts of Convention has been digitized and is part of the Texas Digital Archive.

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Texas Legation (U.S.) Correspondence: 1835-1839, 1841, 1843-1845, undated, bulk 1836-1839

Texas Legation (U.S) Correspondence

1st page of the Public Agreement between General Santa Anna and Cabinet of Texas

Creator: Texas.Legation (U.S.)
Title: Texas Legation (U.S.) correspondence
Dates: 1835-1839
Dates: 1841
Dates: 1843-1845
Dates: undated
Dates: bulk 1836-1839
Abstract: The Texas legation in Washington, D.C., headed by a Minister Plenipotentiary, conducted diplomacy between the Republic of Texas and the United States. Records of the legation document that diplomatic business, consisting of correspondence (272 items) and an index, dating 1835-1839, 1841, 1843-1845, and undated, bulk 1836-1839. Subjects include U.S. recognition of Texas independence, proposals for annexation of Texas to the U.S., boundary issues, Native Americans, the slave trade, relations with Mexico (including the repudiated public and secret Treaties of Velasco), the Texas Navy, financial arrangements for loans, bonds, queries regarding land claims, emigration plans, news of relatives supposedly in Texas, etc. The repudiated public and secret Treaties of Velasco have been digitized and are part of the Texas Digital Archive.

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Texas Secretary of State: Passports Issued by the Department of State, Republic of Texas , 1836-1858, undated

Houston, General Samuel

Houston, General Samuel

Creator: Texas. Secretary of State
Title: Secretary of State records relating to passports issued by the Department of State, Republic of Texas
Dates: 1836-1845, 1855, 1858, undated
Abstract: Passports were issued by the government of the Republic of Texas to allow persons to freely leave and re-enter. These records consist of requests for passports, orders to issue passports, and one proclamation granting entrance into the Republic. Dates covered are 1836-1845, 1855, 1858.

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Texas (Republic). Department of State: Post Office Records, 1836-1847, undated

Appointments and applications, September 13, 1841

Appointments and applications, September 13, 1841

Creator: Texas (Republic). Department of State
Title: Department of State Post Office records
Dates: 1836-1847, undated
Abstract:The postal system of the Republic of Texas was established to facilitate mail transportation within and outside the Republic. Records of the post office were created as a result of the establishment and daily management of the postal service of the Republic of Texas and document the legal, financial, and administrative activities of the office. These records consist of correspondence; vouchers, receipts, and other accounting records; lists of post offices, postmasters, and mail routes; and related documents of the Republic of Texas Post Office, dating 1836-1847, undated.

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Texas Secretary of State, Statutory Documents Section: Executive clemency records

coming soon…


Texas Secretary of State: City Charters and Amendments

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Texas Secretary of State general correspondence, 1846-1932, undated, bulk 1860-1930

Cover, letterpress volume

Letterpress book, January-August 1871

Creator: Texas. Secretary of State
Title: Texas Secretary of State general correspondence
Dates: 1846-1932, undated
Dates: bulk 1860-1930
Abstract: The Texas Secretary of State is a constitutional officer of the executive branch of state government appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate for a term concurrent with the governor’s. These records consist of correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, of the office of the Secretary of State, dating 1846-1932, undated, bulk 1860-1930. Most of the 19th-century correspondence is incoming, and most of the 20th-century correspondence is both incoming and outgoing, usually filed together. This correspondence covers the wide variety of duties of the Secretary of State, including the following: appointments and resignations of notaries public, oaths (particularly during Reconstruction years, 1867-1870), the filing of bonds, state printing contracts, distribution of state laws (both copies of individual bills and sets of bound volumes), distribution of Texas Reports (opinions of the Texas Supreme Court), elections (e.g., certificates of election, reporting of election irregularities, requests for election supplies, etc.), claims for rewards, requisitions for extraditions and the capture of fugitives, the filing of corporate charters (including railroad charters), commissions and certificates of qualification for appointed and elected officials, franchise taxes, statements on the condition of banks, and lists of cases on civil and criminal dockets. A portion of these materials has been digitized and is part of the Texas Digital Archive.

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Texas Secretary of State, Government Filings Section: Legislative Bills and Resolutions Filed (General and Special Laws), 1836-1884

Secretary of State Legislative Bills and Resolutions Filed

Example law from the collection

Creator: Texas. Secretary of State. Government Filings Section
Title: Secretary of State legislative bills and resolutions filed (General and special laws)
Dates: 1836-1884
Abstract: Since 1837, Texas law has required the Secretary of State to contract for the printing of the laws, and to arrange for their distribution. Since 1846, Texas law has required the Secretary of State to receive bills from the Texas Legislature which have become laws, and to bind and maintain such bills and enrolled joint resolutions; and also to deliver a certified copy of these laws (with indices) to the public printer. These records are the official, final, signed copies of legislative bills and resolutions (general and special laws) passed by the Congress of the Republic of Texas and the Legislature of the State of Texas, and subsequently filed with the Texas Secretary of State. These contain the original signatures of all officials (President of the Senate, Speaker of the House, Chief Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and Texas President/Governor). Digitized laws date 1836-1884.

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