For over 200 years the office of Secretary of State has played an integral role in Kentucky’s history. The delegates to the 1792 Constitutional Convention, and all three Constitutional Conventions thereafter, realized the importance of having a Secretary for the Commonwealth when they mandated the establishment of such an office. Throughout the years we can see the Secretary of State’s Office accepting additional responsibilities as they are assigned by the Executive & Legislative Branches of Kentucky’s government.

The Timeline serves as an informal history of the office itself. We are including complete text of all four of Kentucky Constitutions (as they were originally written), entries from the Governors’ Executive Journals, and other articles that provide an insight into the history, function and development of the office. The Timeline will be updated as additional information becomes available.

We especially thank Charles Zoeller for his generous donation of the text for each of the Kentucky Constitutions. Mr. Zoeller’s data entry enabled staff of the Secretary of State’s Office to have an excellent foundation for the Constitution project and provided us an opportunity to expand the Timeline with additional information.

Disclaimer: This website includes complete text of all four of Kentucky's Constitutions (as originally written), selected Acts of the Kentucky General Assembly, and other articles regarding the office and function of the Kentucky Secretary of State. Additional information will be added to this site periodically. Text included on this website was keyed by the staff of the Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office. Although efforts were made to ensure the accuracy of all material, researchers should consult published versions of Kentucky Acts for official use. "Acts of the Kentucky General Assembly” may be researched at the Kentucky History Center Library, the Department for Libraries & Archives, and the Supreme Court Law Library, all in Frankfort, Kentucky. (Note: Acts included on this site may have been amended or rescinded; the information on this site is included for historical research only.)

"Acts Passed at the First Session of the 29th General Assembly for the Commonwealth of Kentucky", 1821, pgs 25-26.


An Act to establish a Public Library at the Seat of Government.

SEC. 1. BE it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, That it shall be the duty of the Secretary of State, by, and with the advice and consent of the Governor for the time being, to sell or exchange such portion of the decisions of the Court of Appeals, now published, or which may be hereafter published, and Acts of Assembly, or other books belonging to this Commonwealth, as they may deem expedient, and which may not be otherwise appropriated by law; and out of the proceeds thereof, purchase such other Books, Charts or Maps, as they may think proper.

SEC. 2. Be it further enacted, That the Books, &c. so purchased, shall be kept in the Secretary's office, or in such other place as the General Assembly may designate by law, or by joint resolution of both houses: And said Books shall remain for the use of the officers of government and members of the Legislature during each session, the judges of the Court of Appeals and General Court. The Secretary of State shall prescribe such rules for the safe-keeping of said books, also the manner and time of taking out said books and returning the same, and shall also have the power of prescribing and enforcing such penalties that he may deem just, for the violation of said rules, until the legislature shall prescribe such other rules as to them may seem right.

SEC. 3. Be it further enacted, That the Secretary of State shall, at the close of each session of the General Assembly, inspect the papers and documents which remain with the unfinished business; and all such papers which he may consider worthy of preservation, he shall carefully file the same in his office, with the necessary labels affixed thereto, designating the session to which they may respectively belong.