Project description: A record of the oil industry from 1890 to 1950 as shown in the development of the Benedum oil interests and the experiences of Michael Late Benedum (1869-1959) and his associates, notably Joseph Clifton Trees (1869-1943). The material consists of interviews with people having special knowledge of leasing, financing, geology, oil and gas production, legal and tax problems. The interviews contain several accounts of Benedum and Trees as wildcatters; problems of oil exploration outside the U.S. (Mexico, 1911-1916, Colombia, 1915, Rumania, 1918-1919, the Philippines, 1920, and China, 1936); development of companies and corporate holdings; storage, transportation, marketing, and refining; and conservation and proration practices leading to Interstate Oil Compact Commission, 1933. [Description from finding aid]
Regulatory significance: The project provides a glimpse at the emergence and development of oil industry regulation during the early 20th century. It likely addresses to a limited degree how oil companies navigated uneven regulatory terrain across states in the U.S. and across national boundaries while exploring for oil in Mexico, Colombia, Rumania, the Philippines, and China. Additionally, the collection promises some discussion of standardization and self-regulatory organizations.
Repository: Columbia Center for Oral History
Interview dates: Circa 1951
Digital access: Only abstracts. No online transcripts or audio.
Physical access: For transcripts and audio, researchers may visit the Columbia Center for Oral History.
Interviewees: John Charles Adams; William W. Arnold; Darwin Benedum; James Claxton Benedum; Michael Late Benedum; Paul Benedum; Sophie and Pearl Benedum; Charles E. Beyer; Al A. Buchanan; Clem S. Clarke; A.B. Dally, Jr.; Margaret E. Davis; John W. Dieringer; Bascom Giles; William Morris Griffith; Walter Simms Hallanan; Houston Harte; Harry B. Hickman; David Dean Johnson; Caswell S. Jones, Thomas J. Newlin and Alex U. McCandless; William J. Jones; Winchester Kelso; W. B. Lane and Roy Gardner; Charles A. MCClintock; Will E. Odom; Alexander P. Olivey; Foster B. Parriott; Andrew Donaldson Robb; Ovid Daniel Robinson; Frank B. Shepard; Tom Slick; Ernest A. Stiller; Milton E. Witherspoon.