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Manuscript (Possibly James Clark's The Oil Pioneers)

Editor's Note: I am currently attempting to obtain the letters described to corroborate whether this manuscript was written by James Clark, a journalist for the Houston Chronicle. Nevertheless, this manuscript is an exceptional testament of early Venezuela. While it was purportedly published in Venezuela in the 1990s—Miguel Tinker Salas's The Enduring Legacy cites a book called Venezuela and the Oil Pioneers covering material related to what the manuscript covers, which is likely the same work—I have nonetheless not found a way, other than this page, to readily access the manuscript in the United States. The book is not available on commercial markets, nor does it appear in university inquiries. Regardless, the existence of this original manuscript, unedited by the nationalized Venezuelan oil company, is a resource in its own right. Thus, I have included the original manuscript.

This is another of the works that Liz Lutz provided me after her interview with me. She describes the story of the manuscript in the text below, excerpted from her own writing that I have posted in the Spring, 2000 files.

Elizabeth Lutz's description of how she acquired the manuscript*:

“HAL SIEGELE, who I corresponded with through the organizing committee, introduced himself to me at the registration table. HAL had thinning hair, was a little taller than me, was neither fat nor thin, and had a big, friendly smile. I would guess his age to be between seventy-five and eighty. He immediately opened his large brown briefs and handed me an imposing manuscript of 286 pages, double spaced and stacked loosely. Pointing to JIM BARNETT, a shy looking, red faced man o the same height and age standing next to him, and, following introductions, told me the following story: JIM, a widower, married the widow of Lloyd Turner. Both JIM and Lloyed worked for Creole, retiring form the company in 1975. With his new wife came this manuscript. JIM had no idea how his new wife’s former husband, Lloyd, came to have this manuscript, the story of the oil boom in Venezuela form 1922 to 1975. “It is exactly what I came to Las Vegas to find,” I thought to myself. I was speechless. “Is this for me?” I stammered. With the manuscript were some letters which described that it had been written by James Clark of the Houston (Texas) Chronicle. HAL and JIM explained that the letters indicate that the author, James Cark, submitted the manuscript to Art Profit, a past President of Creole, elevated to a position in the Standard Oil office in New Jersey. Profit did not want the manuscript published because there was not enough positive information about the Venezuelans and their involvement in the founding of oil. Proudfit was a great diplomat and perpetuated an excellent working relationship between Venezuelans and the foreign Creole employees from all over the world. HAL promised to reproduce and mail the letters to me. After MIGUEL [editor’s note: MIGUEL refers to Miguel Tinker Salas, who at the time was writing The Enduring Legacy] arrived, he told us that the book was published by the Venezuelan Oil Company, possibly in 1995, and entitled The Oil Pioneers. It was published anonymously because they had no proof who the author was. I assume that the publisher had the loose manuscript similar to the one handed to me with no title, no author and no date. I do not know what impact the letters will make, clarifying the question of authorship. MIGUEL said that the way to verify that Clark is the author is to find something written in the Houston Chronicle excepted from the book, with his by-line."

* This is excerpted from a page in Lutz's oral histories, which are also available on this site.

The Manuscript:

The PDF files of the manuscript are available here. The manuscript is twenty-six parts, with each about eleven pages of text. Two sections are currently missing, and I will update the file if/when these parts are found.

 

Escuelas Petroleras:

A Venezuelan History Project

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©2018 by Trent Kannegieter. Special thanks to the Friedman Family Travel Grant and Fellowship for making this research possible.