University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Olin Wellborn Nichols Culberson Papers, 1860-1964

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Culberson, Olin Wellborn Nichols
Title: Olin Wellborn Nichols Culberson Papers
Dates: 1860-1964
Abstract: Olin Culberson was a Texas Railroad Commissioner known for championing the causes of independent oil producers.
Accession No.: 73-120; 82-389; 90-373
Extent: 10 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History,The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Olin Culberson was a Texas Railroad Commissioner known for championing the causes of independent oil producers. Culberson was born October 26, 1886 in Turnerville, Texas. He began his working life in the railroad yards at the suggestion of his relative Charles A. Culberson, Texas governor and U. S. Senator, before enlisting for World War I. Culberson returned to Texas and was elected Hill County Clerk and then County Judge. Culberson was then appointed examiner for the Commission in the late 1930s. He was elected to the Texas Railroad Commission in the summer of 1940. Culberson served on the three-member commission for over 20 years, administering the affairs of Texas’ oil-gas industry, the state’s public carriers, and its gas utilities. Culberson was active in local politics and a forerunner in urging the conservation of natural gas.

Scope and Contents

Papers document the career of Culberson (1886-1961) as a member of the Texas Railroad Commission from 1940-1961, his interest in the regulation of the oil and gas industries by the state rather than the federal government, and the elimination of discriminatory freight rates against southwestern Texas. Included are correspondence, a diary, financial accounts, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, speeches, legal records, reports, sound recordings, motion pictures, photographs, and a large volume of Texas Railroad Commission maps (oil and gas division) embossed with Ernest O. Thompson’s name. Photographs contain images of Culberson’s family and friends and his colleagues at the commission.


Access Restrictions

Access to the audio and moving image portions of these papers is restricted for preservation purposes. Contact repository for more information.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Craven, Walter
Culberson, Charles Allen, 1855-1925.
Culberson, Olin Wellborn Nichols
Daniel, Price
Davenport, John
Fields, William A.
Jester, Beaufort Halbert
McCalla, Kenneth
Mitchell, George
Murray, W. J., Jr.
Nimitz, Chester W. (Chester William), 1885-1966.
Pressler, Herman P.
Rayburn, Sam, 1882-1961.
Scrivener, Arthur
Thompson, Ernest Othmer, 1892-
White, Ben
Yarborough, Ralph Webster, 1903-1996
Young, John
Subjects (Organizations)
Railroad Commission of Texas
Petroleum industry and trade--Texas.
Houston (Tex.)

Related Material

See also Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Records, 1947-1995

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Olin Wellborn Nichols Culberson Papers, 1860-1964, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.

Detailed Description of the Papers



3G310 Correspondence:
“Americanism,” Women’s Club of San Antonio, Texas, Feb. 24, 1960
“Anglo American Treaty,” Public Affairs Club, Dallas, Texas
“Armistice Day,” American Legion, November 11, 1948
“Bill of Rights”
“Boy Scout Speech”
“A Calm Appraisal of A Vital Question,” Houston Post, February 12, 1951
3G311 “Campaign Speeches of Olin Culberson,” May 4, 1940 – July 25, 1946, and undated
“Christopher Columbus,” Italo-American Club, San Antonio, Texas, October 19, 1951
“Citizenship,” June 5, 1956, and February 27, 1958
“A Citizen’s Duty To His Country,” Denton Lions Club, Denton, Texas, April 17, 1959
“Conservation,” Sept. 10, 1953, and May 5, 1959
“Culberson’s Banquet Speech,” Dallas, Texas, November 5, 1951
“Dallas Testimonial Dinner,” Dallas, Texas, September 13, 1957
“Danger of Military Control”
“Decontrol,” North Texas Oil and Gas Association
“Dedication of Monument – Seventy Years of Oil Celebration,” San Antonio, Texas, Sept. 1, [?]
“Dedicatory Address,” Gatesville, Texas, December 14, 1946
“Delinquency Blame Falls Upon Us All”
“Democracy Must Survive,” 1945
“Determination of MER in Texas,” The Phoenix IOCC, May 1952
“A Diagnosis of Our Uneasiness”
“A Discussion of States’ Rights,” Friday Club, Houston, Texas
“Divine Destiny Shaped America”
3G312 “The Early Days of Oil,” Exchange Club, March 7, 1956
“Economics,” September 10, 1952
“For American Families: A Pattern That Is Changing”
“Freedom,” Daughters of American Revolution, April, 1954
“Freedom, (Individual Rights)”
“Freight Rates Ruling,” West Texas Today, pp. 11-12, November 1945
“God and The Atom (Atomic Energy),” 1949
“Glass Making – An Ancient Art”
“Government,” 1935-1951
“Graduation,” 1942, 1945, 1951-1952
“Hidden Texas”
“Holy Week”
“The Illusion of Permanence”
“Independence Day,” July 4, 1947, and undated
3G313 “Internationalism And The Survival of State Powers,” Wichita Falls, Texas, March 29, 1958
“Jokes and Poems,“ 1950-1951
“Jenken Lloyd Jones,” October 17, 1950
[Love For Our Government]
“Magic Barrel”
[The Magna Charter]
“Masonry and Education”
“Memorial Day,” November 4, 1945, and undated
“Mother’s Day,” Luling Kiwanis Club, Luling, Texas, May 16, 1945
“National Defense”
“Need For Christian Citizenship”
“The Need For Looking Ahead”
[A Nuclear Arms Race]
“Oath of Office,” [Austin, Texas], January 2, 1941
“Oil-Gas Depletion,” Houston Post, October 5, 1951
“Oil-Gas Depletion Allowance,” San Angelo Standard Times, October 3, 1951
“Oil-Gas Statistics”
“Oil and Its Effect On Texas Economy,” Dallas (Ft. Worth/Dallas SKAL Club), October 21, 1957
“Oil Imports and Us,” Downtown Rotary Club, Dallas, Texas, June19, 1957
“Oil’s Progress,” Civic and Business Groups on Oil Progress Day, October 14, 1948
“Oil and Gas Resources of Texas,” 1944-1945, 1947-1949, 1951-1952
“Old Trail Drivers,” 1950-1951
“Organization And History Of The Railroad Commission,” November 18, 1941
3G314 “Our Constitution, U. S. A.,” Fort Worth Kiwanis Club, Fort Worth, Texas, February 17, 1955
“Oysters or Eagles?”
“The Political Career of Thomas Jefferson,” Patrick Henry Chapter, No. 11, Austin, Texas, February 22, 1943
“Procedures, etc. of Railroad Commission,” Dallas Bar Association Clinic Meeting, Dallas, Texas, March 19, 1955
“Progress In The Permian Basin of West Texas”
“Responsibilities of Man”
“Riders Wanted”
“The Rights of Man”
“The Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the University of Texas,” 1958
“The Spirit of George Washington”
“Squeeze Is On For Oil Industry,” The Odessa American, p. 15A, Sunday, October 13, 1957
“States Rights and Constitutional Government”
“The State’s Rights In Conservation,” Conference on Petroleum Land Management, McMurry College, Abilene, Texas, October 23-24, 1957
“The Texas Cowboy,” Old Trail Drivers’ Association, San Antonio, Texas
“The Texas Fraternal Congress,” Houston, Texas, November 20, 1953
“Texas History”
“Texas Oil and The Railroad Commission of Texas,” May 8, 1958
“Statement by Olin Culberson,” Texas Oil Journal, February, 1951
“Transportation In Texas,” Galveston-Firemen’s Convention, Galveston, Texas
“West-Central Texas Oil & Gas Association,” August 22, 1940 and October 3, 1940
“Who Will Write Present History For Future World?”
“Why The Iron Curtain Helps The West,” Readers Digest, March, 1952
“Women In Federal Government”
“The World Today”
May 31,1940 – August 12, 1940
3G315 August 13, 1940 – August 23, 1940
1941-1942, 1946
1947, 1951, 1954, 1956-1958, and undated
3G316 Press releases, 1941-1961
3P37 Photographs:
“Vote for Olin Culberson for Railroad Commissioner”
[lantern slide]
[young girl]
[Olin Culberson working] [Click for image]
[Olin Culberson being sworn in] [Click for image]
3S28 My trip down the Houston Ship Channel, May 21, 1949
Olin Culberson and associates
The Olin Culberson family and homes
3S130 Texas Railroad Association Dinner, honoring members, Texas Railroad Commission, Austin, Texas, October 17, 1955
3S182 Chester W. Nimitz, et al, autographed
Olin Culberson
Political Cartoons: [Click for images]
“Decline and Fall of Independent Oil Producers,” Bill McClanahan
“Nibble or Bite?” Herc Ficklen
[Oil Industry], 1940, 1950
Culberson Family Coat of Arms
3Y300 RESTRICTED Moving image:
16mm reels of film on Olin Culberson, KRLR-TV, Dallas, undated
3P37 RESTRICTED Unidentified reels of film
Olin Culberson, KRLD-TV, Herald Square Texas, undated
2.325/S Oversized RESTRICTED Sound Recordings
Opening speech for Railroad Commissioner, Hillsboro, Texas, 1940
Discs, Part 1 and Part 2, Seguin, Texas, July 4, 1941
Disc No. 126 and 127, Commissioner Olin Culberson, Duncan Coffee Company, March 23-24, 1942
Discs Part No. 1 and Part No. 2, W. L. Coker Campaign, Monday, July 1, 1946
Ser. 10-2732, Mr. Olin Culberson, VOX POP CBS. AIR, October 15, 1946
Union Bus Lines, Hon. Olin Culberson, KRGV, American Broadcasting Company, November 10, 1946 and November 17, 1946
No. 1, Set 1 and No. 1 Set 2, Olin Culberson, Lubbock Texas, March 23, 1952
No. 3, Set 1 and No. 4, Set 1, Olin Culberson, March 23, 1952
No. 7, Set 1 and No. 8, Set 1, Olin Culberson, Lubbock, Texas, March 22, 1952 and March 23, 1952
No. 5, Set 1 and No. 6, Set 1, Olin Culberson, March 22-23, 1952
Part 1 and Part 3; Part 2 and Part 4, Paul Harvey, KNOW, Pioneer Broadcasting Company C., Austin, Texas, Sunday, April 13, 1952
KOLE, Port Arthur, Texas, Olin Culberson – Interview, November 19, 1955
THIS IS YOUR LIFE, Olin Culberson, Side 2 and Side 4; Side 1 and Side 3, Program at Appreciation Dinner, Petroleum Club, (KCRS), Midland, Texas, March 28, 1957
No. 1 and No. 2, Roy Terry Introduction
No. 3 and No. 4, Roy Terry [Introduction]
No. 5 and No. 6, Fred Erisman, George A. Holder and M. W. Day
No. 7 and No. 8, M. W. Day, L. H. Reed, W. D. Watson and John Wrather,
No. 9 and No. 10, John Wrather
No. 11 and No. 12, Bill Murray
No. 13 and No. 14, Bill Murray, Foster Bean, Gen. Thompson, A. B. Childs
No. 15 and No. 16, A. B. Childs, Mrs. Culberson
Play 1 and Play 2, Olin Culberson, KOCA, March 10, 1950
A115 and B115, Part 1 and Part 3, Nesbitt and Olin Culberson, December 16, and December 22, [?]
29120 A, Side 7, EILI, EILI (My Lord, My Lord), by Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians; and 29120 B, Side 8, THE LOST CHORD (Sir Arthur Sullivan-Adelaide A. Procter), by Fred Waring and His Pennsylvanians
Part One, 784B, Funny Papers, December 19, [?], Part Two, 784A, Olin Culberson, December 16, [?]
Part One 783B, Olin Culberson, December 16, [?], and Part Two 783A, Cedril, December 17, [?]
Audio Disc 6078, Dee Humphery, August 13, 1940, and other side unlabeled
Blank discs
4N64m Scrapbooks:
1860-1865, 1895, 1901, 1916, 1925, 1939-1953
4M616 July 1935 – February 1940
1939 – 1942
4M617 January – April 1940
May – August 1940
4M618 August – October 1940
January 1943 – December 1944
4N64n January 1947 – December 1948
January 1947 – December 1948
4N72a 1951 -1955
4N72b 1891, 1903, 1935, 1948, 1953 – 1961
4N72c 1954 – 1961
2.325/OP9 Broadside:
“They Are Outstanding,” Austin American Statesman, Austin, Texas, January 12, 1964
2.116/OD1285 Maps:
Railroad Commission of Texas Oil and Gas Division, Ernest O. Thompson, 1940-1941
3S187 Memorabilia:
2.325/OP9 Certificate of Membership, presented to H. C. Lindsey by C. A. Culberson, Governor of the State of Texas, Austin, July 29, 1898
3S187 Certificate for Master of Scottish Rite, April 1951
Proclamation of Honorary Citizenship, Waco, Texas, 1957
Certificate of Appreciation, Houston, Texas, 1958
Certificate of Honor, Members and Personnel of the Railroad Commission of Texas, May 24, 1941
Biography of Olin Culberson, 1886-1961
3G320 Certificate of Appreciation, Rotary Club of Corpus Christi, Texas, May 1, 1958
Certificate of Honorary Membership, American Legion, May 10, 1961
Certificate of Merit, State Railroad Commissioner of Texas, January 2, 1941
Certificate of Merit, American Cancer Society, Inc., 1960
The Mike Flynn Citizenship Award Data, Established by Olin Culberson, 1948-1958
Miscellaneous certificates, proclamation, and diploma, 1947-1959
Guest log, Olin Culberson’s birthday, October 26, 1948
Honor guest ribbon, 58th Annual Washington’s Birthday Celebration, Laredo, Texas, February 17-23, 1955
Ernest O. Thompson’s Resignation, Texas National Guard, Camp Mabry, Austin, July 13, 1947
Guest book from Edna Lodge No. 767, February 7, 1958
Olin Culberson’s personal diary, “My trip to Europe,” July – October 1958
The TIPRO, Tyler, Texas, 1953-1960
Pension Plan Study Committee, State Firemen’s and Firemen’s Association of Texas, May 7, 1958 – February 17, 1960
Culberson’s personal birthday greetings, 1960
Announcements and resolution, 1961
[Humorous Military regulations for Staff Officers], from Ernest O. Thompson
3P37 [Illustrated program from dinner honoring Mr. Olin Culberson], November 5, 1941
TIPRO Reporter, August 1953 [“Olin Culberson—Champion of the Independent” on cover]
School enrollment ledger, 1876-1906 [for “The Story of the Public Schools of Hill Co. Thompson”?]
Culberson Family Bible
Framed bookplate of Tom Edward Pooley
Bookplate of Martha Vogeler W
"A Layman’s Impressions" Harry Hines
[signed booklet]
"More Leaves from the Scrapbook of M. W. Terrell"
"The Greatest Confederate Commander"
"The Old Plantations and Their Owners of Brazoria County, Texas," Abner J. Strobel
"A Century of Texas Governors and Capitols, Republic and State," Citizenship Series Number Five, Flag Day, June 14, 1943
"The National Word-Lists: 7 and 8 Letter Words, with a Treatise on How to Solve Word Building Puzzles," The National Book Club, 1953
"The National Word-Lists: 2, 3 and 4 Letter Words," The National Book Club, 1953
"Collier’s," July 7, 1951
4M626 Albums:
Acknowledgment of invitations, August – September, 1957
This Is Our Life, The Culbersons, 1935-1961
4M627 A Tribute to Olin Culberson, Dinner Dance Honoring Judge Olin Culberson, Houston, Texas, February 28, 1958
4M628 Tributes to Olin Culberson, 1943-1962
3G321 World Atlas, Rand McNally & Company
Tributes to Olin Culberson, 1961, 1967
Political file of Olin Culberson, 1940-1947
Campaign expense account, 1946
Campaign endorsers, January 15, 1940
Radio and television speeches
3G322 Fragments of speeches
Speeches by friends:
1925 - 1961 and undated
Newspaper and magazine excerpts
Communism and un-American activities, 1945-1949