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Inventory of the John Doolittle Papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • State Senate, 1981-1990
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: John Doolittle Papers
    Dates: 1981-1990
    Collection number: LP401
    Creator: John Doolittle, California Legislator
    Collection Size: 16 cubic feet
    Repository: California State Archives
    Sacramento, California
    Abstract: John T. Doolittle, Republican, was a California State Senator from 1981-1990. The John T. Doolittle Papers consist of 16 cubic feet of textual records and 10 audiocassette tapes reflecting Doolittle's activities during his ten-year Senate career.
    Physical location: California State Archives
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    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], John Doolittle Papers, LP401:[folder number], California State Archives, Office of the Secretary of State, Sacramento, California.

    Acquisition and Custodial History

    The California State Archives acquired the John Doolittle Papers following his final term in the State Legislature.


    John T. Doolittle, Republican, was a California State Senator from 1981-1990. Before holding elected office, Doolittle was an administrative assistant to Senator H.L. Richardson and practiced law. In 1980, Doolittle beat out the incumbent Al Rodda, a twenty-two year veteran of the Legislature, by accusing Rodda of being soft on crime. After the 1982 redistricting, Doolittle's district was dissolved by reapportionment. Doolittle then attempted to unseat Senator Leroy Greene, but lost. However, he still had two years left on his term so he remained in the Senate. In 1984, Doolittle successfully defeated independent incumbent Ray Johnson to the surprise of many at the Capitol. He was later fined for ethics violations because his campaign helped the Democratic candidate in that race, thereby siphoning off votes from independent Ray Johnson, which ultimately lead to a Doolittle victory. Doolittle remained the senator representing the First Senate District until his election to the United States House of Representatives in 1991. The First Senate District consisted of the counties of El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Trinity and Yuba, as well as portions of Sacramento and Yolo.
    John T. Doolittle was born October 30, 1950 in Glendale, California. He graduated with Honors from University of California, Santa Cruz with a B.A. in History. He then served a two-year mission in Argentina for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Doolittle attended the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific. Doolittle married the former Julia Harlow and the couple had a son, John Jr., and a daughter, Courtney.
    As a state senator, Doolittle's legislative interests were varied, but his main efforts focused around sentence enhancements for criminals, limiting abortion funding, infectious and hazardous waste, AIDS, and eliminating the Office of Family Planning.
    According to the California Legislature at Sacramento (Handbooks) and the California Blue Book, Doolittle served on the following committees while in the state Senate:

    State Senate, 1981-1990

    Standing and Interim Committees
    Constitutional Amendments, 1981
    * Chair
    Local Government, 1981-1984
    *Vice Chair, 1981-1982
    Business and Professions, 1981-1990
    *Vice Chair, 1983-1990
    Judiciary, 1981-1990
    Natural Resources and Wildlife, 1981-1982
    Agriculture and Water Resources, 1983-1990
    Insurance, Claims, and Corporations, 1983-1990
    Senate Rules, 1985-1986
    Select Committees
    Small Business Enterprises, 1983-1984
    Sierra, Cascade, and Klamath Watershed, 1987
    Doolittle also served as the Chair of the Republican Caucus, 1987-1990, and as the Republican Whip, 1981-1984.

    Scope and Content

    The John T. Doolittle Papers consist of 16 cubic feet of textual records and 10 audiocassette tapes reflecting Doolittle's activities during his ten-year Senate career. The records are organized into the following series: Bill Files, 1981-1990; News Summaries, 1985-1990; Files relating to the Chief Justice Rose Bird confirmation election, 1985-1986; AIDS Articles, 1984-1987; News Clippings, 1984-1987; Weekly News columns, 1981-1984; Press Releases, 1981-1987; Postcards, 1986-1988; Correspondence, 1986-1990; Legislative Counsel Opinions, 1982-1989; and Committee Hearing Files, 1987.
    The Bill Files document Doolittle's legislative activity during his time as a member of the California State Senate. While the bills introduced by John Doolittle cover a wide array of subjects, including one to make square dancing the official state dance (SB2146 in the 1983-1984 session), he did have a few subjects that were his primary focus. Doolittle was a strong proponent of sentence enhancements for criminals (for example SB113, SB1222, and SB1793 in the 1981-1982 session as well as SB1019 in the 1985-1986 session.) Also in his early terms, he focused on abortion funding. Doolittle authored bills that would have allowed people to opt out of paying portions of fees and insurance premiums that funded abortions (SB1231, SB1233, SB1875, SB1876, and SB1877 in the 1981-1982 session.) In addition, SB1009 in the 1985-1986 session would have made it mandatory for women to view a sonogram before an abortion would be performed. However, his most well known legislation may be bills relating to the AIDS virus. AIDS bills authored by Doolittle began in the 1985-1986 session, and culminated in the 1987-1988 session with SB1000-SB1008. Some of the bills included in that group had been introduced in the previous session, but were not accompanied by the concerted marketing effort that came with the set of nine bills in the 1987-1988 session (See 1987 Press Releases).
    Doolittle also paid very close attention to the press. Over the course of his terms, Doolittle amassed a vast collection of newspaper articles about subjects he was interested in (See News Summaries Files series), articles that mentioned him by name (See News Clippings Files series), and articles about the AIDS virus (See AIDS Articles series).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Doolittle, John