A Guide to the Clare J. Colman Papers, circa 1940s-1986
Over the span of 37 years, Clare J. Colman worked for the petroleum industry in a variety of roles. He participated in the planning of offshore drilling operations, platform construction, and the development of innovative deepwater drilling technology.
A World War II veteran and later a civil affairs officer, Colman graduated from Kansas University with a degree in engineering. He then joined Magnolia Petroleum Company, an early subsidiary of Mobil Oil Corporation. Beginning in the United States, he eventually traveled the world and oversaw some of the first offshore oil drilling operations. He worked in several locales, including the Gulf of Mexico, Scotland, and Newfoundland.
Colman’s knowledge and expertise led him to chair the Deep Offshore Technology Conference in 1983. He also received the Centennial Medal of the Portuguese National Geographic Society in 1985. Colman became a full-time volunteer in 1984 and spent his time involved in various civic activities. He died July 27, 2007.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (2007). Colman, Clare J. Retrieved from http://www2.ljworld.com/obituaries/2007/oct/01/clare_colman/
The Colman papers consist of photographs, reports and other materials related to Clare J. Colman’s work for the petroleum industry. The records span from the late 1940s to the early 1980s and consist mainly of photographs. Earlier photographs document rig construction in the Gulf of Mexico for Magnolia Petroleum Company. Photographs from the 1960s to 1980s reflect the many trips Colman made to Norway, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, and other locations. Subject matter is often partially constructed rigs, mechanized parts, tests and experiments, schematic and presentation slides, and photographs of oil industry colleagues. Colman did not take all of these photographs himself, though he collected them throughout his career. He also maintained his interest in the oil industry after his retirement, as evidenced by a 1985 letter from a colleague. This letter accompanies slides and information about a new drilling project.
Bound materials include works published to commemorate the petroleum industry and to document complex deepwater drilling projects. Also included is a mainly pictorial publication documenting Hurricane Audrey, which coincides with photographs Colman took of the devastation it caused in 1957.
Four 16mm films are also included in the collection. Two are widely distributed films produced by Mobil. They detail the complicated nature of offshore oil drilling. A much earlier film (circa 1950s) contains amateur footage of tests made on a Magnolia drilling platform forU.S. Army Engineers. Another film is about equipment used in deep sea drilling.
This collection is open for research use.
Clare J. Colman Papers, circa 1940s-1986, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Nicole Hollon, July, 2012.
Detailed Description of the Papers