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J. B. D. Journal

Identifier: MSS-4119

Scope and Contents

The collection contains the journal of the daily activities of a young man identified only by initials on the inside cover. He is apparently a machinist on board the Gulf Oil Tanker Gulfmaid and he goes into considerable detail about his work including detailed drawings of some of the parts he makes or repairs. He also describes living aboard a ship and the people he works with.


  • 1929-1930

Biographical / Historical

The Gulf Oil Corporation was organized in the first years of the twentieth century to exploit the new oil discovery in Texas. Soon afterwards they organized the Gulf Refining Company of Texas for the purpose of refining and marketing the crude oil, with their first refinery being built at Port Arthur, Texas. During the following twenty years Gulf's growth was steady, with refineries at Port Arthur, Fort Worth (built in 1911), Bayonne, New Jersey (in 1925), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (in 1926), and Sweetwater, Texas (in 1928). By 1928, the company's assets had grown to an estimated $232 million, while the crude oil production rose to 78 million barrels annually.

Gulf weathered the Great Depression only by retrenching and some internal reorganization. By the mid-1930s, the company began to prosper again and the significant increase in the demand for oil during World War II further fueled their expansion. By the 1960s Gulf had become a major producer of petrochemicals, plastics, and agricultural chemicals.

Gulf fell on hard times in the 1970s. Several of its key management figures were implicated in illegal political contributions in the early 1970s, and their successors, in the eyes of many in the oil community, failed to provide clear and aggressive leadership. In 1983 Gulf was still the sixth largest oil company in the United States and managed to turn its oil reserve crisis around, replacing 95 percent of its reserves by the end of the year.

Because of what many perceived to be its weak and excessively bureaucratic management structure, Gulf seemed a good candidate for a takeover. In August of 1983, Mesa Petroleum Corporation began to buy up shares of Gulf Oil. After Mesa had gained control of 11 percent of Gulf's stock, Mesa's management engaged in a proxy fight for control of the company. Gulf executives fought the takeover attempt and eventually invited takeover offers from other companies and collections of investors. On March 5, 1984, the Gulf board voted to sell the company to Chevron (Standard Oil of California) for $13.2 billion. Gulf's operations were merged into Chevron in what was the largest corporate merger to date.

Source : "Gulf Oil Corporation." Clark, James A. and Odnitz, Mark. [accessed 625 July 2015]


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Language of Materials



Journal of the daily activities of a machinist on board the Gulf Oil Tanker Gulfmaid, going into a great deal of detail including detailed drawings of some of the parts he makes or repairs.


purchased from Ben Katz, 2015


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Processed by

Martha Bace, 2015
Guide to the J. B. D. Journal
June 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266