University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Morgan Jones Davis Papers, 1906 (1948-1968) 1980.

Descriptive Summary

Creator Davis, Morgan Jones, 1898-1979
Title Davis (Morgan Jones) Papers,
Dates: 1906(1948-1968)1980.
Abstract Concerns the career of Morgan Jones Davis (1898-1979), geologist and chairman of Humble Oil and Refining Company. Papers relate to his business activities at Humble and after his retirement from the company; his memberships in various professional organizations and on boards and councils; and his social activities. Included are correspondence, legal documents, certificates, reports, pamphlets, appointment books, minutes, literary productions, financial records, newspaper and magazine clippings, scrapbooks, photographs and maps.
Acession No. 69-59
Extent 17 ft., 2 in.
Language English.
Repository University of Texas at Austin, Center for American History

Biographical Note

Morgan Jones Davis was born in Anson, Texas on November 19, 1898 to John Wesley and Gabrella (Jones) Davis. He grew up in Fort Worth, worked as a ranch hand on the Texas Cattle Ranch in 1915, and entered Texas Christian University in 1916 where he studied geology under Professor W. M. Winton. He left T.C.U. in 1918, served briefly in the armed forces, and returned to T.C.U. for one semester.

Davis then came to the University of Texas and attended until 1921, when he took a job in Tulsa, Oklahoma as an engineer with the Tulsa Spavinaw Water Project. He was promoted to assistant superintendent and worked on the project until 1924. Davis returned to UT and received a B.A. in geology in 1925. While at UT, he was a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and the Curtain Club. After graduating he joined Humble Oil and Refining Company as a geologist. On August 8, 1926 Davis married Veta Clare Moore of Tulsa; they subsequently parented two sons--Morgan Jones Jr. and James Harrison Davis.

After four years in Roswell, New Mexico, Davis left Humble and spent 1929 to 1934 with the Neaderlandsche Kolonidale Petroleum Maatschappis in Java and Sumatra. He led geological explorations into islands of the Indonesia Archipelago. L. T. Barrow of Humble rehired Davis in 1934 as New Mexico District Geologist, headquartered in Roswell. From that point he steadily progressed up the corporate ladder: Gulf Coast Division Geologist in 1936, chief geologist in 1941, and manager of the Exploration Department in 1946. Davis graduated from the Harvard School of Business Advance Management Program in 1947. He was elected to Humble's board of directors in 1948, named a vice-president in 1951, executive vice-president in 1956 and president in 1957. He oversaw the 1960 merger of Humble Oil and Refining Company with Esso Standard and Carter Oil companies, and retained the presidency of the new organization, also called Humble. At the time it was the largest company headquartered in Texas. The pinnacle of Davis' career was his election in 1961 as chairman and chief executive officer of Humble, posts he held until his retirement in 1963. Davis then worked as an independent oil consultant in Houston with his son Morgan Jr.

He served on the boards of several organizations: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (1961-1963), First City National Bank of Houston, Texas United Fund, American Petroleum Institute, Radio Free Europe (chairman), St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, Houston and the Kinkaid School, Houston. He also served on the executive committee of the Houston Museum of Natural Science, on visiting committees of the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration (1963-1969) and the Harvard College Division of Geological Sciences, and on the Advisory Council of the UT Geology Foundation.

Davis' professional affiliations included the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (president, 1952-1953), the Geological Society of America (president, 1968-1969), Texas Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, Sigma Gamma Epsilon (honorary earth science fraternity) and Sigma Iota Epsilon (honorary business fraternity). Civic organizations that he belonged to included the Houston Citizens' Committee, Houston Committee on Foreign Relations, Harris County Heritage Society, and the Philosophical Society of Texas. Davis was a Mason and attended Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral in Houston.

Many awards were presented to Davis during his career. Among them were the Texas Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association Distinguished Service Award (September 1960), an honorary doctorate in engineering from the Colorado School of Mines (1964), and the Sidney Powers Memorial Medal Award for Distinguished Achievement from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (1972).

Davis died of cancer on December 31, 1979 and was buried in Houston's Forest Park Cemetery.

Scope and Contents

The papers of Morgan Jones Davis were donated to the Barker Texas History Center in early 1980 by the Davis family. Mr. Davis had previously given a set of oil industry related maps and charts to the Barker Center in 1969; these items were integrated into the main body of the collection during processing. Inclusive dates for the collection are 1906-1980; the bulk of the material is from 1948 to 1968. The collection consists of personal and business correspondence, business reports, speeches and articles, legal papers, financial records, newspaper and magazine clippings, other printed material, scrapbooks, maps and photographs. The twelve series comprising the papers have been arranged utilizing Davis' folder titles wherever feasible.

The first series contains personal and business correspondence, congratulatory messages, invitations and replies, and reader files. Personal and business correspondence include letters received from prominent oil industry and business leaders, politicians, educators and socialities, and Davis' replies; they are arranged chronologically. Except for 1962, personal correspondence appears complete from 1957 to 1966. Letters of congratulation usually concern Davis' promotions at Humble Oil. Arrangement is alphabetical by year. Invitations and replies are arranged chronologically. The reader files are Davis' copies of correspondence sent from his oil consulting business office (except 1951).

The business activities series contains information on the Humble Oil merger in 1959-1960, Humble Oil stockholders reports, Davis' non-Humble business dealings, and his appointment books. The materials are arranged chronologically. Also included is a set of files relating to a lawsuit, Williams v. Humble Oil, which involved an oil well near Crowley, Louisiana. The third series documents Davis' involvement with organizations such as the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and the Geological Society of America. Included is correspondence with organization members, committee materials, and information on the organizations' conventions and annual meetings. Arrangement is chronological by organization activity. Similarily arranged are Davis' board and council membership files.

As an executive Davis gave many speeches. He authored several articles which appeared in publications such as the Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. One subseries consists of major speeches and addresses given between 1948 and 1955, which Davis numbered. The other subseries contains miscellaneous talks. Both subseries are arranged chronologically, as are his published works. Correspondence relating to his public speaking engagements and literary works of co-workers and others comprise the rest of the series.

Davis' various social activities includes vacations, golf tournaments, hunts, and memberships in Houston social clubs. Files relating to each are arranged chronologically. Financial records consist of tax materials, gasoline statements, cancelled checks, bank statements and payroll deduction records. Arrangement is chronological. Because of the volume of material only random samples have been retained of the cancelled checks and the gasoline and bank statements.

Printed materials include clippings, scrapbooks, a list of books in Davis' library and a variety of miscellaneous items.

The approximately 110 photographs and postcards relate to Davis' work, social occasions and vacations, and family members. Maps include early oil explorations and oil fields in Texas, Louisiana and Mexico, Humble Oil road maps, and twenty seven maps that accompany a geological investigation of the Lower Mississippi. Scrapbooks relate to Davis, family affairs and the launching of an oil tanker.



I. General correspondence (3X296-3X309), 1949-1978
II. Business activities (3X309-3X311), 1946-1968
III. Professional organizations (3X312-3X318; OD 1199), 1951-1973
IV. Board and council membership (3X318-3X322), 1955-1968
V. Literary productions (3X323-3X326), 1910-1979
VI. Social activities (3X327-3X328), 1949-1968
VII. Financial records (3X328-3X330), 1939-1968
VIII. Printed material (3X330-3X331; OD 1199), 1910-1980
IX. Photographs (3Y46; 3S200)
X. Scrapbooks (2.325/V7)
XI. Maps (OD 1192)

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Anderson, Robert M.
Baker, Hines H.
Barrow, Leonidas T.
Bass, Perry R.
Blaffer, John H.
Bell, Olin G.
Brown, George Rufus
Brown, Herman
Brown, Jay H.
Bush, George
Clark, Lester
Connally, John
Croneis, Carey Gardiner
Culberson, Olin Wellborn Nichols
Cutrer, Lewis
Davis, Elizabeth Brown
Davis, James Harrison
Davis, Morgan Jones Jr.
Davis, Veta Moore
Davis, Watson
Echols, Hugh Jr.
Eisenhower, Milton
Ellison, Samuel P.
Flawn, Peter T.
Goldstein, August Jr.
Gonzalez, Richard J.
Halbouty, Michel T.
Hill, Al G.
Hirsch, Maurice
Holcombe, Oscar Fitzallen
Holman, Eugene
Hurlbut, S. Finley
Johnson, Lyndon Baines
Jones, Charles S.
Lallinger, E. Michael
Landreth, Ed A.
Levine, Max
McCollum, Leonard F.
McNeese, A. G. Jr.
Murray, Grover
Nixon, Maston
Pratt, Wallace E.
Ransom, Harry Huntt
Reistle, Carl E.
Rowan, Arch H.
Sawtelle, George
Sheild, Fred W.
Shivers, Allan
Strake, George W.
Thomas, Albert
Thompson, Ernest O.
Webb, Harry C.
Wheeler, O. C.
Wise, Watson W.
Subjects (Organizations)
American Association of Petroleum Geologists
American Institute of Professional Geologists
American Petroleum Institute
American Society for Oceanography
Gibraltar Savings Association (Houston)
Geological Society of America
Harvard University
Houston Museum of Natural Science
Humble Oil and Refining Company
Kinkaid School (Houston)
Radio Free Europe
Ramada Club (Houston)
St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital (Houston)
Standard Oil Company of New Jersey
UT Department of Geology
UT Geology Foundation
Education, Higher
Entertainment and Recreation
Esso Baltimore (vessel)
Geology and Geologists
Hunting and fishing
Oil and gas
Oil companies
Stocks and investments
Texas. Governor's Committee on Education Beyond High School
Washington and Lee University
Williams v. Humble Oil
Antigua, British West Indies
Austin, Texas
Banff, Alberta, Canada
Crowley, Louisiana
Houston, Texas
New York, New York
Photographic Subjects (Persons)
Brown, George Rufus
Davis family
Davis, Morgan Jones
Kayser, Paul
Reistle, Carl E. Jr.
Photographic Subjects (Places)
Curtice Island, Minn.
Houston, Texas
Newport News, VA
Williamsburg, VA
Photographic Subjects
Esso Baltimore (vessel)
Humble Oil and Refining Company
Mexican Association of Petroleum Geologists
Oil and gas
Ships and shipping


Letterhead Index

  • Letterheads-Texas:
    • Abilene - Hotel Windsor - 3X296, folder 6
    • Amarillo - Panhandle Producers and Royalty Owners Assn. - 3X300, folder 4
    • Austin - Cook Funeral Home - 3X304, folder 7
    • Austin - Driskill Hotel - 3X298, folder 3
    • Austin - Hotel Stephen F. Austin - 3X303, folder 3
    • Austin - KTBC - 3X298, folder 5
    • Austin - UT Ex Student Assn. - 3X297, folder 3
    • Corpus Christi - Robert Driscoll Hotel - 3X317, folder 1
    • Dallas - Dallas Morning News - 3X304, folder 5
    • Fort Worth First National Bank - 3X305, folder 1
    • Houston - First City National Bank - 3X303, folder 6
    • Houston - First Federal Savings and Loan Assn. - 3X305, folder 3
    • Houston - Harris County Medical Society - 3X296, folder 3
    • Houston - Houston Chronicle - 3X298, folder 1
    • Houston - Houston Fat Stock Show - 3X298, folder 2
    • Houston - Houston First Savings Assn. - 3X299, folder 6
    • Houston - Houston Humble Club - 3X299, folder 6
    • Houston - Houston Press - 3X297, folder 6
    • Houston - Medical Center National Bank - 3X304, folder 7
    • Houston - Methodist Hospital - 3X304, folder 2
    • Houston - Rice Hotel - 3X303, folder 1
    • Houston - Texas National Bank of Commerce - 3X299, folder 6
    • Longview - Longview News Co., Inc. - 3X300, folder 4
    • Plains - Plains High School - 3X299, folder 4
    • San Antonio - Frost National Bank - 3X303, folder 6
    • San Antonio - Santa Rosa Medical Center - 3X321, folder 3
  • Letterheads - Non-Texas:
    • Boston, MS. - Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Co. - 3X300, folder 4
    • Los Angeles, CA - Biltmore Hotel - 3X296, folder 2
    • New Orleans, LA - Pan American Life Insurance Company - 3X304, folder 4
    • Roswell, NM - New Mexico Military Institute Chapel Fund - 3X299, folder 5
    • Shreveport, LA - Commercial National Bank - 3X305, folder 1
    • Tulsa, OK - Hotel Tulsa - 3X317, folder 6
    • Tulsa, OK - Mayo Hotel - 3X312, folder 5



General correspondence:

3X296 Personal:
January - February 1957
March 1957
April 1957
May - July 1957
August - September 1957
October 1957
November - December 1957
January - February 1958
3X297 March - May 1958
June - September 1958
October - November 1958
December 1958 - January 1959
February - March 1959
April - May 1959
June - August 1959
September - October 1959
3X298 November - December 1959
January - June 1960
July - December 1960
January - May 1961
June - October 1961
November 1961 - December 1962
January - June 1963
3X299 July - November 1963
December 1963
January - April 1964
May - August 1964
September 1964 - January 1965
February - May 1965
June - October 1965
3X300 November 1965 - April 1966
May - December 1966, October 1978
Petroleum consultant announcement:
May 1963 - January 1964
Business and professional:
October 1963 - July 1964
August - December 1964
January - May 1965
June - September 1965
3X301 October - December 1965
Hines H. Baker, May 1957 - November 1962
L. T. Barrow, August 1954 - September 1965
L. T. Barrow, consulting services, May 1955 - December 1958
Maston Nixon, January 1958 - April 1963
3X302 Wallace E. Pratt:
1949 - 1953
1954 - 1955
1957 - 1960
1961 - 1965
3X303 Congratulatory messages received, 1956:
Index, A to C
D to L
Mc to R
S to Z
Index, A to B
C to G
H to L
3X304 Congratulatory messages received, 1957:
Mc to R
S to Z
Davis' replies
Congratulatory messages received, 1959:
A to K
L to Z
Davis' replies
Congratulatory messages received, 1961:
A to H
3X305 Congratulatory messages received, 1961:
J to O
P to Z
Congratulatory messages received, 1963 - 1964:
A to L
M to Z, unalphabetized
Congratulatory messages sent:
1965 - 1967
Invitations received and replies:
1960, March - October, 1965
November 1965 - March 1966
3X306 Invitations received and replies:
April - September 1966
October - December 1966
January - August 1967
September 1967 - March 1968
Get-well messages:
September and October 1966
January - August 1966
September 1966 - December 1967
3X307 Christmas card lists:
1964 - 1967
Reader files:
January - June 1951
July - December 1951
November 1963
December 1963
January - March 1964
April - July 1964
August - December 1964
3X308 January - May 1965
June - August 1965
September - October 1965
November - December 1965
January - February 1966
March - April 1966
May - August 1966
3X309 September - October 1966
November - December 1966
January - March 1967
April - July 1967
August - October 1967
November 1967 - March 1968


Business activities:

3X309 Humble Oil and Refining Company:
Merger, 1959:
Shareholder meeting notices and proxy statements
Correspondence and notes, August - December 1969
Press notices; certificates of incorporation
Stockholders reports, Exploration Department Technical Conference, Northern Area Conference, Billings, Montana, 1950 - 1959; January 1953; February 1960
3X310 Litigation, Williams v. Humble Oil, 1966 - 1968:
Discussion of shallow sand development, North Crowley Field, 1937 to 1964
Field spacing orders and lease development papers, 1931 - 1942
Lease outline, 1937 - 1964
General correspondence, 1967 - 1968
Correspondence from geologic well files, 1938 - 1944
Correspondence from area well files, 1939 - 1963
Leases copied in connection with Williams vs. Humble, SE--520
Report No. 2, well completion study, North Crowley Field, by T. Pennington
Answers to interrogatories
Shallow maps, North Crowley Field
3X311 Other:
Singer Manufacturing Company, April - September 1962
Aztec Oil and Gas Company, stockholders meeting, April 1964
Stock Transactions, 1946 - 1960
Appointment books:


Professional organizations:

3X312 American Association of Petroleum Geologists:
Association milestones and digest of committee reports, 1915 - 1951
Affairs, 1952 - 1953
1960 - 1962
1963 - 1964
1966 - 1967
Ethics, 1952; Special Committee on Ethics, 1954
Medal Award:
1952 - 1954
3X313 1963 - 1964
January - September 1966
October 1966 - July 1967
Executive Committee, August 1966 - March 1967; Industrial Advisory Committee, May 1966 - November 1967
Letters of recommendation, April 1965 - March 1966; Commemorative stamp, 1965
Foundation, 1967
District representatives, 1952-1953
3X314 Conventions:
Houston, March 1953
St. Louis, April 1966; Miscellaneous, 1965-1968
Printed material, 1952, 1964-1966
American Geographical Society:
American Institute of Professional Geologists:
Convention, Houston, October 1967; Miscellaneous printed material, 1965-1967
American Petroleum Institute:
Correspondence and general information:
November 1963 - December 1965
3X315 Correspondence and general information:
January 1966 - August 1967
September - December 1967
Chicago, November 1964; New York, November 1966
Certificate of Appreciation, 1956; Membership rosters and other printed material, 1958 - 1967
American Society for Oceanography:
September 1965 - March 1966
April 1966 - July 1967
Newsletters, July 1966 - August 1967; Bylaws, membership lists and other printed material, 1966 and undated
Geological Society of America:
1952 - 1964
3X316 1965
January - June 1966
July - December 1966
1967 - 1968
Finance Committee, 1958, 1962 - 1963
Meeting, Southeastern Section, Roanoke, VA, May 1952
Meeting programs, annual reports and other printed material, 1952 - 1967
3X317 Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies:
Correspondence and general information, 1951-1953, 1963
Special Awards Committee, 1965
Independent Petroleum Association of America:
Annual meeting, Oklahoma City, October 1952
Inter-American Conference, Houston April 1952
International Geological Congress, Mexico City, September 1965
International Petroleum Exposition, Tulsa, May 1966
Mexican Association of Petroleum Geologists, Annual Meeting, Mexico City, February 1953
Texas Mid-Continent Oil and Gas Association, Distinguished Service Award, San Antonio, September 1960
3X318 World Petroleum Congress (6th), Frankfurt, West Germany, June 1963
Miscellaneous meeting programs, 1952, 1966-1967, 1973


Board and council memberships:

3X318 Gibraltar Savings Association board of directors, minutes and reports of operations
3X319 St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital:
Board of trustees meeting minutes and financial reports:
September - December 1966
January - April 1967
May - August 1967
September - December 1967
Correspondence, November 1966 - December 1967
Hospital expansion, 1967
3X320 University of Texas Geology Foundation Advisory Council:
May 1959, January - November 1960
December 1960
January 1961 - August 1963
September - December 1963
March 1965 - March 1966
April - December 1966
3X321 Humble Oil Education Foundation, 1962-1964
Governor's Committee on Education Beyond High School:
May - December 1963
January - October 1964; May 1967
Houston Museum of Natural Science:
May 1964 - May 1966
June - December 1966
Board meetings, April 1964 - December 1967
3X322 Radio Free Europe:
Annual dinner meeting, Memphis, Tennessee, March 24, 1966
Tennessee speaking tour, March 1967; Meeting, Little Rock, March 27, 1968
Harvard University, visiting committees:
School of Geological Sciences, 1951-1966, May 1968
Graduate School of Business Administration, 1961-1965
Harvard University Business School Southwest Regional Conference April 24, 1965
Pan American Legion, 1955; Houston Crime Commission, 1963


Literary productions:

3X323 Index; 1910 King of England eulogy; Declamation, high school literary society, December, 1914
Numbered speeches and addresses:
1-4 (1949)
5-13 (1949)
15-18 (1950)
19-20 (February, April 1951)
21-23 (March, November-December 1951)
24-30 (January-May 1952)
3X324 31-34 (May 1952-February 1955)
Stock speeches, given 1952 - 1953
“The Geologist's Code”
“Progress in Oil Finding”
“Progress in Oil Finding”
“Oil and Gas Possibilities and Eastern Gulf Coastal Plain”
Miscellaneous speeches, addresses and talks:
1952 - 1953, 1956 - 1958
1959 - 1961
3X325 1962 - 1967
1968 - 1979
Miscellaneous speeches, addresses and talks:
Meetings and talk schedules, 1952 - 1953
Correspondence relating to articles, speeches and meetings:
January - October 1952
November 1952 - May 1953
Published articles, 1929, 1953, 1957 - 1962
3X326 Papers and articles of others, 1931 - 1962:
Claude R. Hocott; Virgil A. Walston; H. R. Brannon, A. C. Daughtry,; Frederic H. Lahee
R. D. Woods; Sir Charles Goodeve; Ralph E. Taylor; George Martin Lees; W. C. Krumbein; John C. Crowell; Norman D. Newell and Douglas A. Greig; William C. Gussow; E. C. Dapples; S. S. Umpleby; American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Richard J. Gonzalez; Rex G. Baker
Hines H. Baker; Ernest O. Thompson
Donald C. Barton; Soaring Society of America; Wallace E. Pratt; L. F. McCollum; Carl Illig; Joseph E. Pogue; Lowell Stanley; Thomas B. Nolan


Social activities:

3X327 Oilmen's Golf Tournament, Banff, Alberta, Canada:
1957, 1959 - 1960
1961 - 1962
1964 - 1965
Bohemian Grove/Camp Mandalay, 1965 - 1967
Ramada Club:
1949 - 1959
1960 - 1965
1966 - August 1967
September 1967 - February 1968; 1967 year book; historical sketch, 1967
3X328 Bolero Club, 1959-1962; Harvard Business School Club of Houston, directory, 1967-1968; Les Amis d'Escoffier, undated
International Club, 1957-1963
Hunts correspondence, 1963
European vacations, 1956 and 1958; 1961 tourist cards, Mexico
European vacation/6th World Petroleum Congress, 1963


Financial records:

3X328 Taxes and expenses, 1963:
Tax forms; Texas National Bank Building office; Dues
Medical and dental expenses; dividend statements; interest; taxes
3X329 Contributions
Gifts; dividend records, Federal Reserve Bank
Miscellaneous deductions; miscellaneous income tax items; flowers; stock sale receipts
Tax deductible contributions:
June 1965 - May 1966
June - December 1966
January - July 1967
August - December 1967, March and May 1968
Automobile and gasoline expenses, 1967
Statements and cancelled checks, Bank of the Southwest:
1960 - 1961
3X330 1962 - 1963
Life insurance and annuity records (Humble Oil), 1939 - 1959; aviation accident insurance, 1960 - 1963; automobiles no longer owned, 1957 and 1960


Printed material:

3X330 Clippings, 1956 - 1978
Obituaries and memorials, 1980
Scrapbook (photocopy), 1910 - 1980
3X331 1- Notes, Harvard Business School first year production course, ca. 1955
List of books, undated
Letterhead stationery, Humble Oil and Refining Company
Miscellaneous, 1951 - 1966
OD1199 Oversize documents:
Oil industry charts and tables, 1914-1916 and undated
Professional organizations meeting notices and chart of committees, 1953-1965
Certificates, 1969-1972 and undated
Map series cover, 1932



Images of Davis at work and social occasions, of portraits of Davis, of family members, and of vacations. Significant photographs include Humble Oil Co. Boards of Directors and the launching of the Esso Baltimore.
94 black and white and 6 color photographs
49 black and white negatives
15 postcards
Source: Donated by the Davis Family.
Photographs are arranged by activity.
3Y46 Morgan J. Davis:
With family and friends
Humble Oil:
Geological survey crew, 1926
Humble Oil Building, [Click for images] ca. 1962
Board of directors, [Click for images] 1959-1963
Northern Area Conference, Billings, Montana, 1960
Ship launching, Newport News, VA and Williamsburg, VA vacation [Click for images]
Meetings, speeches, awards:
Mexican Association of Petroleum Geologists, 1953
25 Year Club of the Petroleum Industry, 1963
Colorado School of Mines, 1964
Geological Society of America, ca. 1969
Permian Basin Petroleum Hall of Fame, undated
3S200 Vacations:
Curtice Island, Minn.
Mediterranean region, ca. 1963
Africa, ca. 1972
Polo, Princeton



325/V7 Esso Baltimore launching
Family events

OD1192 Maps


Artifact Collection