Skip to NavSkip to Content

The University of Texas at Austin


If you are unable to see this video please download a flash player.

Title: Esso Commercial
Collection: ExxonMobil Historical Collection

The American Energy History Collections consists of corporate archives, organizational records, personal papers and oral histories that form a comprehensive view of the energy industry and its influence on Texas, the nation and the world. From the early days of the oil industry in the 1850s to the 1901 discovery of oil at Spindletop through the emergence of the global energy economy, these collections document the industry's impact on business, society, politics and culture in the 19th and 20th centuries.

This group of collections provides for the study of all facets of the energy economy, from the work of geologists and engineers to discover new sources of oil to refining and getting products to consumers. Researchers can study the successes, and failures, of independent entrepreneurs, as well as the evolution of multinational corporations. Personal recollections reveal the industry's effect on the lives of employees and the roles of individuals in shaping the industry. Oil’s role in law, government and regulation is also well represented. Materials providing insight into general business and governmental history, social and labor movements, advertising and genealogy further enhance the value of these collections.

A selection of the visual materials from these collections has been digitized and can be found in the Energy and Natural Resources Gallery.

Collections Related Exclusively to Oil

ExxonMobil Historical Collection

The ExxonMobil Historical Collection (EMHC) documents the long history of Exxon Mobil Corporation, focusing on the activities and functions of four major corporate entities – Standard Oil Company, founded in 1870 by John D. Rockefeller, Mobil Corporation, Exxon Corporation and Exxon Mobil Corporation – as well as various predecessor, affiliate and subsidiary companies, notably Texas-based Humble Oil & Refining Company and Magnolia Petroleum Company. Comprised of an estimated 4 million documents, 1.5 million photographs, 4,000 artifacts, and well over 30,000 moving image and sound recordings, the EMHC is arguably the largest publicly available collection documenting a single petroleum company.

Oral History of the Texas Oil Industry Records

Title: P. F. Co's 55,000 oil tank struck by lightning
Collection: Oral History of the Texas Oil Industry Records

The Oral History of the Texas Oil Industry Records documents the development of the Texas oil industry from the turn of the century to 1950. The records include 218 audio interviews with pioneers in all phases of the oil fields and oil booms: roughnecks, drillers, promoters, financiers, contractors, leasemen and law officers. The project was begun by sixteen interviewers with the goal of gathering these pioneers' recollections before they were lost. Supplementing these interviews on the history and lore of the early oil industry in Texas are photographs, newspaper clippings, correspondence, brochures, scrapbooks and literary works that provide further context for the recollections.

Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners (TIPRO) Records and the
Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners (TIPRO) Oral History Collection

Title: The Oil Import Problem
Collection: TIPRO Records

These two discrete collections document the history of the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO), an organization founded in 1946 to promote and protect the interests and concerns of independent oil and gas producers, particularly small businesses, and royal owners throughout Texas. The records and oral history interviews, conducted by the Center for American History, illustrate TIPRO's work to help insure sound economic and government practices and to demand political accountability in the oil and gas industry.

Pennzoil Company v. Texaco Inc. Case Records and the Pennzoil-Texaco Dispute Oral History Collection

These two collections trace one of the most controversial legal battles ever fought between America's oil companies. In the suit, Houston-based Pennzoil Company charged that Texaco unjustly interfered in a 1984 agreement between Pennzoil and Los Angeles-based Getty Oil Company by acquiring all of Getty's stock days after Pennzoil had agreed to purchase a three-sevenths stake in that company. The multi-million dollar settlement, in Pennzoil's favor, stands as one of the largest in legal history. Donated by Pennzoil, the case records comprise a complete set of legal documents and other materials generated during the trial, including trial transcripts, depositions and pleadings in state and federal courts, as well as comprehensive news clippings covering the case.

Lago Colony (Aruba) Collection

The Lago Colony (Aruba) Archives, 1924-2010, documents, as much as possible, the lives of the American employees and their families who made the colony their home for over five decades. It is comprised of material related to the social, educational and recreational pursuits of colony residents and includes directories; school annuals and literary magazines; newspapers and clippings; programs for a variety of community events and activities; memoirs and diaries; photographic prints and albums; scrapbooks; and born-digital and digitized material. Material dating after the colony ceased relates to former residents’ work to stay connected through reunions, the Lago Colony web site and other means.

Title: [Five men posing with oil drill]
Collection: United North and South Development Company Album

Galloway (J. J.) Report
Kennedy (William) Papers
Gish (Wesley Gibson) Papers
Guadalupe County Oil Company Letter
Norrell (Mabry J.) Papers
Oil Geologist's Reports
Oil Scrapbooks
Stipp (T. F.) Report
Texas Oil Companies Collection
Texas and Pacific Land Trust Narrative
Texas Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association Records
United North and South Development Company Album
UT Bureau of Economic Geology


Collections With Substantial Oil-related Components

Collections With a Modest Level of Oil-related Components

Title: Reed Roller Bearing Rock Bits
Collection: Kelts C. Baker Papers

Acree (Fred) Papers
Aldrich (Roy Wilkinson) Papers
Batts (Robert Lynn) Papers
Boatright (Mody Coggin) Papers
Brown and Root, Inc. Photographs
Burkburnett Oil Field Photographs
Colquitt (Oscar Branch) Papers
Connally (Tom) Papers
Cotner (Robert Crawford) Papers
Culberson (Olin Wellborn Nichols) Papers
East Texas Photograph Collection
Geological Survey of Texas Records
Hill-Milam Family Papers
Israelsky (Merle C.) Papers
Labor Movement in Texas Collection
Lee (Russell) Photograph Collection
Morgan (Gilbert "Gib") Papers
Plummer (Frederick Byron) Papers
Quinn (Frank David) Papers
Runyon (Robert) Photograph Collection
Schlueter (Frank J.) Photographs
Sharp (Mrs. Walter Benona "Estelle Boughton") Papers
Shettles (Elijah L.) Papers
Swenson Land and Cattle Co. Papers
Verkin Photo Company Collection
Webb (Irving H.) Texas Surveyors Collection
Winkelmann Photographic Archive