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Guide to the Henry J. Mello Papers, 1975-1996
MS 41  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of the Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Acronyms
  • Related Works

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Henry J. Mello Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1975-1996
    Collection number: MS 41
    Creator: Mello, Henry J.
    Extent: 172.5 cartons, 1 flat

    215 linear ft.
    Repository: University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library.Special Collections
    Santa Cruz, California 95064
    Abstract: This collection includes Sacramento Capital Office Legislative records (1977-1996), Gilroy District Office files (1977-1996), Monterey District Office files (1977-1996), Salinas District Office files (1977-1996), and Santa Cruz District Office files (1975-1996) documenting the career of California State Assemblyman and Senator Henry J. Mello.
    Physical location: Stored offsite at NRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce, please contact the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Henry J. Mello Papers, MS 41, Special Collections, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Henry J. Mello. Additional material given by John Mello in November 2003.


    A Watsonville native, Henry John Mello was born on March 27th, 1924, the child of an immigrant Portuguese family from the Azores. He attended Watsonville High School and Hartnell College in Salinas. With his father, he worked in the apple business, establishing a family farming business in 1940. Together they founded the Mello Packing Company in 1948, and the Central Industrial Sales Company in 1965. From the mid-1950's on Mello was involved in many local charitable and non-profit organizations. His initial foray into politics began in 1950 when he was a Democratic volunteer during the senate campaign between Richard M. Nixon and Helen Gahagan Douglas. Throughout the 1950's he worked on Democratic campaigns, and was elected to the Democratic Central Committee. His local public service career began when he served as a member of the California Agricultural Advisory Board and as a fire commissioner.
    His political career began in earnest in 1966 when he was elected to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, where he served until 1974. In 1976 he was elected to the State Assembly representing the 28th district. As a moderate Democrat he served two terms, until 1980, in what was then a nominally Republican district. In the Assembly he began his long involvement in senior issues as chairman of the standing Committee on Aging, and also became an influential member of the Ways and Means Committee.
    He was elected to the State Senate in 1980 in what was then the 17th (after 1993 the 15th) District, and as a freshman senator was appointed to the Senate Rules Committee (1983-1992) and elected Majority Whip (1981-1992), two of that body's most powerful leadership positions. In 1992 he was elected Majority Leader. During his tenure as State Senator, Mello had a singular legislative record, frequently having more bills signed into law than any other senator. His legacy includes a remarkable legislative record in initiating senior citizens programs, an innovative arts and corrections program (arts in the prisons), bilingual education, and statewide economic development. During his tenure, Mello carried 727 bills and resolutions, of which 456 were signed by the governor and the remainder integrated into other bills or vetoed. He authored over 120 bills dealing with seniors, including the establishment of the California Senior Legislature, the first programs focusing on Alzheimers that included respite care, adult day health care, and Multipurpose Senior Services Programs, as well as inititating important changes in laws affecting conservatorship and elder abuse, funding for senior meals programs, and nursing home reform. He is held in high regard by seniors throughout the state for his work in their behalf. Mello was term-limited out of office in December, 1996. As a former Watsonville Man of the Year, Henry J. Mello continues to live on the Central Coast as a farmer and businessman.

    Scope and Content of the Collection

    This collection includes Sacramento Capital Office Legislative records (1977-1996), Gilroy District Office files (1977-1996), Monterey District Office files (1977-1996), Salinas District Office files (1977-1996), and Santa Cruz District Office files (1975-1996), scrapbooks, photographs, plaques, and some audiovisual materials documenting the public life and career of California State Assemblyman and Senator Henry J. Mello.


    The archive has been arranged into seven series by the donor:
    1. Sacramento Capital Office, 1977-1996
    2. Santa Cruz District Office (SCDO), 1975-1996
    3. Salinas District Office, (SDO), 1977-1996
    4. Monterey District Office (MDO), 1977-1996
    5. Gilroy District Office, (GDO), 1977-1996
    6. Handout Indexes, 1977-1996
    7. Scrapbooks and Award Plaques, 1977-1996


    The container list has been arranged by subject within each series except Series 7 which is arranged chronologically.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Mello, Henry J.
    Aged--Government policy--California
    Educational law and legislation--California
    Military base conversion--California--Fort Ord
    Land use--California--Fort Ord--Planning
    Health planning--California
    Water--Law and legislation--California
    Transportation--Law and legislation--California
    Natural resources--California--Monterey County
    Elkhorn slough (Calif.)



    • AARP American Association of Retired People
    • AAUW American Association of University Women
    • AB Assembly Bill
    • ACR Assembly Concurrent Resolution
    • ADA American Disability Act
    • ADHC Adult Day Health Care
    • AFDC Aid to Families with Dependent Children
    • AIDS Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
    • AJR Assembly Joint Resolution
    • ALRB Agricultural Labor Relations Board
    • AMBAG Association Monterey Bay Area Goverments
    • ATOC Acoustic Thermometry of Ocean Climate
    • BAYMEC Bay Area Municipal Elections Committee
    • CAADS California Association for Adult Day Services
    • CAC California Arts Council
    • CALPAW California Parks and Wildlife Initiative
    • CalTrans California Department of Transportation
    • CASA Court Appointed Special Advocates
    • CCRI California Civil Rights Initiative
    • CEQA California Environmental Quality Act
    • CH. Chapter
    • CHISPA California Highway Patrol
    • CLAS California Learning Assessment System
    • COX Coalition of Parent's Support
    • CPERS California Public Employees' Retirement System
    • CRTA California Retired Teachers Association
    • CSL California Senior Legislature
    • CSL California State Legislature
    • CSL California State Library
    • CSU California State University
    • CSUMB California State University Monterey Bay
    • CTF Correctional Training Facility
    • CYA California Youth Authority
    • DLI Defense Language Institute
    • EDD Employment Development Department
    • EIR Environmental Impact Report
    • ESOPS Employee Stock Ownership Plans
    • FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency
    • FHWA Federal Highway Administration
    • FORA Fort Ord Reuse Authority
    • GDO Gilroy District Office
    • HCD Housing Community Development
    • HDG Housing Development Grants
    • HICAP Health Insurance Counseling Advocacy Program
    • HJM Henry J. Mello
    • IFF Intrastate Funding Formula
    • IHSS In-Home Supportive Services
    • JRCR Joint Rules Committee Resoultion
    • LAFCO Local Agency Formation Commission
    • LCP Local Coastal Plan
    • LRDP Long Range Development Plant
    • LULAC League of United Latin American Citizens
    • MBUAPCD Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District
    • MDO Monterey District Office
    • MPWMD Monterey Peninsula Water Management District
    • MRWPCA Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency
    • MSSP Multipurpose Senior Services Program
    • NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement
    • NCSL National Conference of State Legislatures
    • OCS Office of Community Services
    • OES Office of Emergency Services
    • OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
    • PACE Policy Analysis for California Education
    • PEA População Economicamente Ativa (Economically Active Population)
    • PERS Public Employees Retirement System
    • PIC Private Industry Council
    • PORAC Peace Officers Research Association
    • PUC Public Utilities Commission
    • PVUSD Pajaro Valley Unified School District
    • PVWMA Pajaro Valley Water Management Assoc.
    • RCFE Residential Care Facility for the Elderly
    • ROW Right of Way
    • SAC Sacremento Capital Office
    • SB Senate Bill
    • SBCWC-FCD Santa Barbara County Water Conservation - Flood Control District
    • SCA Senate Constitutional Amendment
    • SCAMP Seafloor Characterization And Mapping Pods
    • SCAP Santa Cruz AIDS Project
    • SCDO Santa Cruz District Office
    • SCR Sentae Concurrent Resoultion
    • SCRAMP Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Penninsula
    • SDF Soquel Demonstration State Forest
    • SDO Salinas District Office
    • SEO Sponsors for Educational Opportunity
    • SEP Special Experimental Project
    • SHARE Stroke Handicapped Adult Rehabilitation Education
    • SJM Senate Joint Measure
    • SJR Senate Joint Resolution
    • SLVUSD San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District
    • SOR Standing Order
    • SR Senate Resolution
    • STIP Statewide Transportation Improvements Program
    • TAMC Transporation Agency for Monterey County
    • THP Timber Harvest Permits
    • UFW United Farm Workers
    • WIC Women, Infants, Children
    • WIN Work Incentive Program
    • x Extraordinary Session (in legislative bill numbers)
    • YWCA Young Women's Christian Association

    Related Works

    Henry J. Mello: A Life in California Politics by the Regional History Project, University Library, University of California at Santa Cruz, 2001. http://library.ucsc.edu/reg-hist/mello.html