A native of Connecticut, where he lived his entire life, Doolittle is best known as an early American engraver of maps. Those in Jedidiah Morse’s Geography Made Easy (1784), the first American geography, are his earliest. However, they were preceded by a famous series of engravings of The Battles of Lexington and Concord, New Haven, December 1775, based on his own experience. They remain the only pictorial record, by a contemporary American, of these important revolutionary battles.
Doolittle was a versatile engraver, and in addition to maps excelled at political cartoons, invitations, bank notes, labels, music, bookplates, diplomas, certificates, tickets, Masonic aprons and ephemera, charts, book and magazine illustrations, religious and moralizing prints, portraits, and historic scenes; and was also known as a printer and publisher, a “jeweler, a calico printer, and an engraver of clock faces” (Steinway).