Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Donald C. Barton Papers MSS.0005

Descriptive Summary

Creator Barton, Donald C.
Title: Donald C. Barton Papers
Dates: Inclusive, 1922-1929
Dates (Bulk): Bulk, 1927-1929
Identification: MSS.0005
Quantity: 2.25 Linear feet and 14 books
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Biographical Note

Donald C. Barton (1889-1939) was born in Stowe, Mass., on June 29, 1889. He graduated from Harvard in 1911 and received a Ph.D. in geology in 1914. He served in the United States Army Signal Corps during World War I. He came to Houston in 1919, and was employed with the Rydale and Rycale oil companies. From 1927 to 1934 he operated his own business as a consulting geologist. From 1934 until his death, he was employed by the Humble Oil Company. He was considered an authority on salt dome formations and their relation to oil pools. Dr. Barton was also a pioneer in the use of the torsion balance for oil exploration and made trips to Europe and elsewhere to study the method for adoption in the Gulf Coast oil zones. He was active in professional and academic circles as a contributor of articles and papers on the scientific aspects of oil exploration and gained national prominence as a geophysicist. Dr. Barton served as president of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and was a member of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of his business and some personal correspondence from 1922 to 1929 with the bulk of the material spanning the years 1927-1929. Three volumes consist of correspondence between Dr. Barton and the Freeport Sulphur Company (1927-1928), the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas (1926-1929), and the Association of Petroleum Geologists (1929). Most of the correspondence details the first two years of his career as a consulting geologist. It reflects business transactions between Dr. Barton and his clients as well as letters of inquiry from parties both in the United States and Europe. Some of the material is technical, dealing with techniques of geophysical exploration in addition to the areas of exploration.


The collection has been maintained in its original bound book form. Correspondence in each volume is arranged by alphabet, although the order is not always reliable, especially with volumes of business and professional correspondence. The dates indicated on the volumes reflect the latest and earliest dated letters found in the volume. The greatest portion of the collection, however, is dated 1927-1929. Dating within each volume is generally consecutive, but again it is not always reliable. No index to the correspondence is available.


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions


Index Terms

Geophysical exploration

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Donald C. Barton Papers. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.

Acquisition Information

Donated by: Unknown Donor, 1942.

Processing Information

Processed by: Louis Marchiafava, Jan. 4, 1977.

Detailed Description of the Collection


1 Personal papers, 1925-1930
2 American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 1929
3 Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas, 1926-1929
4 Freeport Sulphur Company, 1927-1929
5 A: Business and Professional, 1926-1929
6 B-D: Business and Professional, 1926-1929
7 E: Business and Professional, 1927-1929
8 F-G: Business and Professional, 1925-1929
9 H: Business and Professional, 1928-1930
10 I-M: Business and Professional, 1926-1929
11 N-P: Business and Professional, 1925-1929
12 R-S: Business and Professional, 1927-1929
13 T-W: Business and Professional, 1926-1929
14 U-W: Business and Professional, 1927-1929