Photo album, 13 x 11 1/2 in., bound in light brown buckram, with vertical stripes on the covers. Carter's detailed record of his trip to the Colombian and Venezuelan oil fields, including photos, postcards, letters, receipts, an itinerary of the number of miles traveled, and a map of his route.
Laid down in the album or mounted with corner mounts are 110 black & white photos varying in size from 2 1/2 x 3 1/2, to 3 x 4 1/4, to 3 1/2 x 5 in., most with captions, plus 33 photo postcards of Venezuelan scenes (some with color added). Carter has also affixed his luggage tags and a printed passenger list from the voyage of the S.S. "Santa Lucia," from New York, and return by the S.S. "Santa Paula." Laid down is a double page color map of the Caribbean showing oil wells along the U.S. coast and in Venezuela. Notices of his trip which appeared in "The Oil Weekly," and "The Petroleum Engineer," are also laid down in the album. An additional 64 photos are laid in loose in a pocket affixed to one of the album pages, varying in size from 2 1/2 x 2 1/2, up to 3 x 4 in. Many of these are captioned on verso. There are also 13 strips of contact photos in an envelope, each with 3 images. Another pocket in the rear of the album holds receipts for his expenses, including laundry and hotel bills, and another contains 3 typed letters, correspondence from an acquaintance in Venezuela. A large map of Venezuela, 22 1/2 x 45 1/2 in., folded into 8 panels, and backed with linen is laid in loose, "Venezuela: editado por Richard Mayer," [NY: G.G. & G. Research Co., nd]. Shown on the map are the railways in operation and proposed, as well as the oil company railroads, oil producing fields, pipe lines, etc. Carter has traced and annotated his route in red ink on the map. All items are very good, the photos clear. D.V. Carter was an engineer with Magnolia Petroleum Co. in Dallas. The trip he documents here, from Oct. 18 - Dec. 8, 1940, was a tour of the principal holdings in Venezuela and Colombia, of the Socony Vacuum Oil Company, Magnolia's parent organization. The photos show Carter traveling by rail, boat, plane and truck to the sites, including the Carbonera field, Barco Concession, the Petrolea Camp "Colpet," Nueva River and Tibu River, Lake Maracaibo, Guario, San Joaquin, San Tome, etc. There are 8 photos of Colombian Petroleum employees who suffered arrow wounds during attacks by the native Montilones in the area. Nine photos show oil wells and tanks: a well on Lake Maracaibe; No. 1 Guario Discovery Well; Guario No. 1 & No. 2 Flow Station; Guario No. 2 oil well; Zorritos oil field; San Tome oil well; Ven. Pet. Co., Sta. Barbara #1 oil tanks; V.O.C. Co., Langanillos oil well; Alta Mira #1. Others show equipment and the camps for workers, native housing, fellow oilmen he met from Barco, La Petrolea's "North Dome," Barco's "South Dome," Colombia Petroleum's narrow gauge railway at La Petrolea, bananas, wood borers, an iguana, etc. Item #63155
Oil was discovered in the Norte de Santander area of Colombia known as the Barco Concession, along its border with Venezuela in the early 20th century. Following World War I American oil companies, responding to the world-wide demand for oil, expanded their research and development into South America. The Texas Corporation and Socony Vacuum Oil Corp. [Standard Oil of New York] purchased a controlling interest Colombian Petroleum Company and the Barco Concession in April 1936 from South America Gulf Oil Company and began oil exploration in earnest. They faced geographical and political difficulties in building infrastructure in Colombia, including field roads, a railroad, radio telephones and a pipeline to carry the oil some 200 miles to the coast. Their employees also faced opposition from the native Montilones, as evidenced in some of these photos. Their holdings also included oil exploration in the eastern and central parts of Venezuela around Lake Maracaibo, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, El Tigre, and the Rio de Oro. A fascinating look at the American corporate interests in South American oil fields just before World War II.
BARCO CONCESSION OIL EXPLORATION, A PHOTO ALBUM BY A MEMBER OF THE TEAM OF DRILLERS AND OILMEN IN COLOMBIA, 1936-1940. Oblong string-tied brown leather album, small quarto 11" x 7". "Photographs" in gilt lettering and a paper label with "Barco Concession 1936-40," printed in ink on the front board. The album contains 127 sepia-toned or black and white gelatin silver photographs, varying in size from 2 x 3 to 4 x 6 1/2 in., with captions. All images clear.
The album was kept by a member of a Barco Concession Oil Exploration team, likely from the Texas Corp. in Colombia between 1936 and 1940. It begins with the flight into Colombia with aerial photographs of the cities below. Following are images from the Santa Maria trail and the main camp “Petrolea” featuring a shop, warehouses, refinery, and living quarters. The oil men are seen digging wells, exploring the jungles, and posed around their camps. Workers range from heads of the company to geological teams to manual labor. One section shows a flood at the camp with men wading through water and moving equipment. Captions identify some of the men, including [J.K.] Hufendick who was an Assisstant Petroleum Engineer with Texas Corp. in the 1930s, and [James Terry] Duce, a Geologist with Texas Corp.
Oil had been discovered in the area between Colombia and Venezuela in 1905 but hadn’t been developed until 1936. The American companies involved were Texas Corporation and Socony-Vacuum (later Texaco and Mobil) which were in the area until 1960. During their time at the site the men were continuously attacked by the local tribes of Motilones Indian the aftermath of which can be seen here in photos of Barco workers with arrows sticking out from their arms and torsos. The skirmishes with the Motilones also resulted in the deaths of some of the oil workers.