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Guide to the John T. Doyle Papers, 1855-1905
MS 760  
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The John T. Doyle papers touch on law cases in which Doyle or his partner -- or partners they successively adopted -- concerned themselves. Most of the documents touch on civil disputes in the San Francisco Bay Area, though some are connected to other places in California, notably Placerville, and other documents discuss mining claims and companies in Nevada.
John T. Doyle was born in New York City on November 26, 1819, the son of John Doyle and Frances Glinden Doyle. In 1838, he graduated as valedictorian from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Obtaining an A.M. in 1840, he began practicing law in New York two years later and continued until 1851. Then, on a vacation in Nicaragua, he met "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, the shipping and railroad magnate, who was trying to fulfill his dream of a canal linking the Gulf of Mexico with the Pacific Ocean. Inspired by the tycoon's vision, Doyle rushed back to New York, resigned his position, and returned to Nicaragua as general agent for Vanderbilt's American Atlantic and Pacific Ship Canal Company. He spent a year making plans, none of which came to fruition because the "Commodore" could not raise the money needed for construction costs. Doyle finally gave up and headed for San Francisco. In 1853, he was admitted to the San Francisco bar, where he remained until 1888 as an active attorney. It was not until 1889 that he received his L.L.D.
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