Inventory of the John Doolittle Papers

Processed by Ron Cascella
California State Archives
1020 "O" Street
Sacramento, California 95814
Phone: (916) 653-2246
Fax: (916) 653-7363
© 2009
California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

Inventory of the John Doolittle Papers

Collection number: LP401

California State Archives

Office of the Secretary of State

Sacramento, California
Processed by:
Ron Cascella
Date Completed:
August 2009
Encoded by:
Jessica Knox
© 2009 California Secretary of State. All rights reserved.

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

Series Descriptions


Series 1. Bill Files 1981-1990

Physical Description: 161 file folders


Bill files are arranged chronologically by legislative session and then numerically by bill number.

Scope and Content Note

Bill files were created by John T. Doolittle while he served as a senator, 1981-1990. The files may include bill analyses, amendments and resolutions, author's statements, testimony, press releases, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and committee statements.
1981-1982: SB108-SB2063; SCA44; SJR63 (18ff) LP401:1-18.
1983-1984: SB53-SB2573; SCA42-SCA53; SCR72-SCR79;SJR3-SJR56 (25ff) LP401:19-43.
1985-1986: SB216-SB2620; SCA30; SCR46-SCR102;SJR12-SJR55 (34ff) LP401:44-77.
1987-1988: SB1-SB2863; SCA27-SCA28; SJR1-SJR37 (48ff) LP401:78-125.
1989-1990: SB7-SB2887; SCA17-SCA28; SCR25-SCR82;SJR14-SJR52 (36ff) LP401:126-161.

Series 2. News Summaries 1985-1990

Physical Description: 91 file folders


News Summaries are arranged chronologically by year and month.

Scope and Content Note

News Summaries are groups of news articles assembled by Doolittle staffers. There is a cover sheet for each News Summary with the date range of the articles in it. The cover sheet also has the titles and dates of the articles organized by subject. The date range of each group is variable, so news summaries are organized by the latest date in the range. For example if the date range is 4/14/86 - 6/20/86, it can be found with the June 1986 news summaries.

Series 3. Rose Bird Files 1985-1986

Physical Description: 8 file folders


Rose Bird Files are in their original order.

Scope and Content Note

Rose Bird Files consists of news articles, petitions, reports, and speeches relating to the 1986 confirmation election of then California Supreme Court Chief Justice Rose Bird. Doolittle was an outspoken critic of the Bird Court and the series reflects Doolittle's interest in preventing Bird's confirmation.

Series 4. AIDS Articles 1984-1987

Physical Description: 38 file folders


The AIDS Articles are in their original order, which is generally chronological.

Scope and Content Note

The AIDS articles are a large collection of newspaper, magazine, and newsletter articles relating to all aspects of the AIDS virus and its social ramifications. Topics included in these articles are the ways in which AIDS can be spread, total number of deaths attributed to AIDS, the growing fear of people who lead alternative sexual lifestyles, Rock Hudson's death and lawsuit brought against his estate by a former sexual partner, and ways in which other states and countries are addressing the AIDS crisis.

Series 5. News Clipping Files 1984-1987

Physical Description: 45 file folders


The News Clipping Files are arranged chronologically by year and month.

Scope and Content Note

The News Clipping Files are copies of newspaper articles that mention Doolittle in the text of the article. Doolittle is generally referenced in articles about pending legislation, events he participated in, and more general issues about which he had taken a side such as tax reductions, AIDS, and blood donation.

Series 6. Weekly News Columns 1981-1984

Physical Description: 2 file folders


The Weekly News Columns are arranged chronologically by legislative session.

Scope and Content Note

The Weekly News Columns were written by Doolittle and distributed to his supporters. Topics include legislation currently being written or voted on by Doolittle and more general subjects that are of interest to conservatives such as abortion and taxation. This series appears to have been abandoned after Doolittle's second session.

Series 7. Press Releases 1981-1987

Physical Description: 3 file folders


The Press Releases are arranged chronologically by year and month.

Scope and Content Note

Press Releases are articles written about topics that Doolittle wanted advertised. They were written in a way that they could be picked up by media outlets and reprinted verbatim and seem like legitimate news stories. Some of the topics included in this series are sales and use taxes, federal parole, court reform, "Jerry Brown: California's Cosmic Crime Fighting Charlatan," AIDS, awards Doolittle received, and legislation Doolittle was pushing.

Series 8. Postcards 1986-1988

Physical Description: 2 file folders


The Postcards are arranged alphabetically by subject.

Scope and Content Note

The postcards represent a sample of preprinted form postcards sent from Doolittle's constituents to his offices. Their subject matter ranges from mobile home parks to abortion and reflect the concerns and opinions of his constituency.

Series 9. Correspondence Files 1986-1990

Physical Description: 13 file folders


The Correspondence Files are arranged alphabetically by subject.

Scope and Content Note

The Correspondence Files contain a sampling of letters sent to Doolittle on specific subjects. Doolittle's staff organized the letters by topics in order to facilitate form letter responses. Most files contain this form letter response and relate to such subjects as hunting, home buying, Medi-Cal B, the Office of Family Planning support, home to school transportation, pro-life support, and employee benefits.
A list of subject headings is available in Appendix A in the Master Finding Aid at the California State Archives.

Series 10. Legislative Counsel Opinions 1982-1989

Physical Description: 8 file folders


The Legislative Counsel Opinions are arranged chronologically by year.

Scope and Content Note

The Legislative Counsel Opinions are letters drafted by the office of Legislative Counsel in response to a request by Doolittle. While Legislative Counsel Opinions can be found in a particular Bill File when they pertain to that bill, this series contains opinions that do not necessarily reference a particular bill authored by Doolittle. These opinions can include draft legislative language, potential legal problems with pending legislation, or any other matter on which a legislator might require legal advice.

Series 11. Hearing Files 1987

Physical Description: 2 audiocassettes


The Hearing Files are arranged chronologically by hearing date.

Scope and Content Note

The Hearing Files are audiocassettes of the two public informational hearings of the Select Committee on the Sierra/Cascade/Klamath Watershed. The first hearing took place on 3/27/1987 and was about commercial timber harvest within the watershed. The second hearing took place on 5/15/1987 and related to water use.