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Inventory of the Senator Randolph Collier Papers, 1939-1976
LP 229  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Material Cataloged Separately

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Senator Randolph Collier Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1939-1976
    Inventory: LP 229
    Creator: Collier, Randolph, Senator, 1902-1983
    Extent: 34 cu. ft.
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Publication Rights

    For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the California State Archives. Permission for reproduction or publication is given on behalf of the California State Archives as the owner of the physical items. The researcher assumes all responsibility for possible infringement which may arise from reproduction or publication of materials from the California State Archives collections.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Senator Randolph Collier Papers, LP 229, California State Archives.


    Senator Randolph Collier was elected to the State Legislature from 1938-1976 to represent Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, Lake, Trinity, Del Norte and Siskiyou counties. The main industries in the area are lumber, agriculture, mining, dairies and cattle.
    Although he was recognized as a leader in many fields of legislation, Collier gained statewide and national fame in the planning and financing of highways. He was the principal author of the Collier-Burns Act of 1947 which brought about the California Highway Plan. The state's highway system served as a model throughout the nation in that the state assumed responsibility for state highways in cities. Other improvements came with the Highway Act of 1953 which stepped up the California freeway program and the adoption of the California Freeway and Expressway System in 1959.
    His interest in ecological preservation introduced legislation to provide proper regulation of California's timberlands and protection for wild rivers. He worked with local authorities in providing parks and recreational facilities for the public.
    The naming of the Randolph Collier Tunnel through Oregon Mountain on Highway 199 was a tribute to its principal advocate. It provided the first direct route from northwest Nevada to the Pacific Ocean. It also eliminated the route over the summit's 128 curves and hairpin switchbacks, and made the highway passable in snowy weather. Background information on the tunnel are in the Highway and Transportation Files. Coverage on the groundbreaking and dedication ceremonies are in the Subject Files.
    Collier caused a sensation by changing his registration from Republican to Democrat in 1959 when the practice of cross-filing was removed. There is a congratulatory letter from Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy.
    Senate committees on which Collier had served include Governmental Efficiency, Finance, Revenue and Taxation, Insurance and Finance Institutions, and Transportation.
    For further information such as principal transportation legislation which he authored between 1947-1965 and vitae, please refer to the Subject Files series, Biographical Data folder.

    Scope and Content

    Collier's papers document his career in the State Senate. He handled the concerns of the constituents he represented as well as the interests of the general public. Many of the bills he drafted were preceded by extensive background research and hearings. The records were transferred to the custody of the California State Archives on April 15, 1980. They are arranged in three parts: 1.) Author Bill Files; 2.) Subject Files and 3.) Highway and Transportation Files.
    Among the legislation in the Author Bill Files is the Collier-Burns Highway Act of 1947 (SB 5x). It provided revenue to meet critical highway deficiencies by taxing the user on the basis of the user's demands on the highway ststem. It further defined the administrative functions for street and highway work by the state counties, cities and counties, and cities.
    One of the research strengths in the Subject Files pertain to water. A highly controversial issue of supply and demand developed between the less populated areas in the north which had 70% stream flow and the heavily populated urban areas in the south. After a ten-year study, the California Water Plan was proposed in 1957 by the California Water Resources Board. It became the largest program ever undertaken in the country to deliver water to central and southern California. As a result, the plan fostered many water development projects along the Eel and the Klamath Rivers. These projects provided water for domestic, industrial and agricultural use in addition to flood control, water quality, hydroelectric power generation, recreation and enhancement of fish and wildlife habitat.
    The Highways and Transportation Files contain information on policy, regional plans, rapid transit, toll crossing, weight and size limitations for trucks. An underlining issue is the obtainment and distribution of transportation funds.
    A weakness in the collection is that a number of files contain partial information. Other state agency records to consult are the Secretary of Business and Transportation, California Highway Commission.

    Material Cataloged Separately

    Photographs and a reel of film (the latter pertains to the Klamath River) have been removed and are housed separately.