Scope and Content
Other Descriptive Information
Title: Robert B. and William R. Moran papers
Identifier/Call Number: Mss 282
UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Collections
Language of Material:
61.2 linear feet
(127 document and shoe boxes, 9 flat oversize boxes)
Date (inclusive): 20th century
Photographs and documents relating to Robert B. and William R. Moran. Most of the collection pertains to oil exploration in
California, other parts of the U.S., and abroad.
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Language of Materials:
The collection is in English.
Moran, Robert B.
Moran, William R.
Moran 1963 Trust subseries is closed. The reminder of the collection is open for research.
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given
on behalf of the Department of Special Collections as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply
permission of the copyright holder, which also must be obtained.
[Identification of Item], Robert B. and William R. Moran papers, Mss 282. Department of Special Collections, UC Santa Barbara
Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Bequeathed with the Estate of William R. Moran.
Processed by Pearl Ko, Zachary Liebhaber, and Christina Scholze, 2011.
Robert Breck Moran (1879-1961) graduated from Stanford University in 1907, worked as a petroleum geologist for Associated
Oil and Standard Oil, and opened his own office in San Francisco as a consulting geologist in 1911, marrying Edna Louise Venable
of San Luis Obispo, California, that same year. Eventually settling in Pasadena, Robert Moran moved his office to Los Angeles
in 1915. Among other achievements, Robert Moran pioneered the use of the airplane in geological reconnaissance work and has
been credited with the discovery of the Venice oil field well in Los Angeles while consulting for the Ohio Oil Company from
1927 to 1929. On a trip to Peru in 1929, Moran discovered the Agua Caliente oil dome, upon which he established the Ganso
Azul Oil field. Robert Moran has been recognized as an early pioneer in the fields of petroleum geology and petroleum engineering.
William Rodes Moran (1919-2006) followed in the footsteps of his father. After obtaining his BS in Geology from Stanford University
in 1942, William went on to work for Union Oil as an exploration geologist, retiring as Vice President for Exploration of
Molycorp in 1985. From 1956 to 1989 William was associate editor of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin.
In addition to his professional work in exploration geology, William was a recognized collector and researcher in the area
of early recorded sound. To consult materials related to William's early sound recording collecting and research activities
see PA Mss 57 William R. Moran Collection.
Scope and Content
This guide covers the non-music portion of the William R. Moran Collection, including material relating to Robert B. Moran
(RBM) and William R. Moran (WRM). Most of the material relates to oil exploration, in California, other parts of the U.S.,
and abroad. There is an extensive photograph component to the collection, with 200 glass plate negatives, 8000 early black
and white negatives and contemporaneous black and white prints, and about 4300 more recent color slides.
The photographs range from about 1900 to the present, and are particularly strong in the areas of early oil exploration and
drilling along the coast and central valleys of California, geological features of the American west, particularly within
the coastal ranges and valleys of central California, Alaska, Washington, Montana, and Wyoming, as well as many early photos
of Baja and Peru.
Included among the Baja photographs are early prints, negatives and slides of the flora and physical features of the peninsula
and Guadalupe Island, likely taken by explorer and botanist Dr. Reid Venable Moran (1916-2010), William's older brother.
In addition to the photographs, the collection includes personal, biographical, and work related documents and correspondence
of both Robert and William Moran, as well documents related to the Moran 1963 Trust. Many of the Moran 1963 Trust documents
concern the Ganso Azul Oil field on the Agua Caliente dome in the eastern Andean foothills of Peru. Established in 1929 by
Robert Moran, this field first saw production in 1939. The Moran 1963 Trust subseries is closed. The collection also contains
a stereoscopic photograph subseries.
The collection has been divided into three series. Series 1 and 2 comprise the personal, biographical and work related documents
of Robert and William Moran, including the closed Moran 1963 Trust subseries. Items in this closed subseries are in original
order, and have not been re-arranged by subject or date.
Series 3, Photographs, has been divided into subseries by original format, and again by location (by state if within the United
States, by country if outside the United States), or subject. Duplicate images have not been matched or cross-referenced in
different formats. For example, the same image in the Prints and negatives subseries may reappear as a glass plate in the
Glass plate negatives subseries.
In order to maintain the intellectual arrangement of certain files within this finding guide, some boxes have been listed
out of sequence. This does not, however, reflect their physical arrangement. Physical arrangement on the shelf is not by series,
but by box number, which runs continuously from beginning to end of the entire collection.
Other Descriptive Information
Series numbers on box labels are in Roman numerals.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Moran, Robert B. -- Archives
Moran, William R. -- Archives
Standard Oil Company.
Union Oil Company of California.
Petroleum industry and trade--California--History