31 J. Marshall L. Rev. 971 (1997-1998)
The National Notary Association: A Historical Profile

handle is hein.journals/jmlr31 and id is 981 raw text is: THE NATIONAL NOTARY ASSOCIATION: A
HISTORICAL PROFILE
MILTON G. VALERA*
I. THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN NOTARY
In perhaps his most famous and trenchant observation about
the American people, the French social analyst Alexis de Toc-
queville commented in 1840' that Americans are inveterate joiners
and, whenever two or more are randomly thrown together, they
are more likely than not to discover a mutual interest and start an
organization. Considering the keenness of de Tocqueville's insight,
it is remarkable that 318 years passed between the appointment of
the first common law notary public in the American colonies and
the launching of what would become the first national organiza-
tion of English-speaking American notaries.
After Thomas Fugill of the New Haven Colony was chosen
publique notary to attend the court on October 25, 1639, and,
nearly seven weeks earlier, Steven Winthrope of the Massachu-
setts Bay Colony was chosen to record things on September 9,2 it
was not until 1957, when a native Californian named Raymond
Clarence Rothman formed a unique educational association that a
lasting national organization of U.S. notaries was established.
There is no mystery why Fugill, Winthrope and notaries from
the other English colonies never convened in one place to discuss
their mutual notarial interests. Primitive and sporadic communi-
cation and transportation systems prevented inter-colonial asso-
ciations of almost any kind. The professional, fraternal and avoca-
tional groups that de Tocqueville observed and that arose in the
late Colonial period and in the early days of our republic were vir-
tually always restricted to a town, a city, a region or, more rarely,
* Milton G. Valera has been the President of the National Notary Asso-
ciation since 1982. He was with the organization since 1969 as Vice Presi-
dent, Executive Director and close collaborator with founder Raymond C.
Rothman. Valera holds a B.A. in Journalism from California State Univer-
sity, Northridge.
1. See ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE, DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA 114-15 (Phillips
Bradley ed., 5th ed. Vintage Books 1954) (addressing whether there is a nec-
essary connection between the principle of association and equality).
2. The American Notary: Celebrating A 350-Year Heritage, NAT'L NOTARY
MAG., Nov. 1989, at 10 - 12.

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