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Guide to the Robert B. and William R. Moran papers Mss 282
Mss 282  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access Restrictions
  • Use Restrictions
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Acronyms
  • Box Type by Number

  • Title: Robert B. and William R. Moran papers
    Identifier/Call Number: Mss 282
    Contributing Institution: UC Santa Barbara Library, Department of Special Research Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 61.2 linear feet (135 boxes)
    Creator: Moran, William R.
    Creator: Moran, Robert B., 1879-1961
    Date (inclusive): 20th century
    Abstract: Photographs and documents relating to the careers of Robert B. and William R. Moran. Most of the collection pertains to oil exploration in California, other parts of the United States, and abroad.
    Physical Location: Special Research Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library

    Access Restrictions

    The Moran Trust subseries is closed. The reminder of the collection is open for research.

    Use Restrictions

    Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Research Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Research Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Research 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.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of Item], Robert B. and William R. Moran papers, Mss 282. Department of Special Research Collections, UC Santa Barbara Library, University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Acquisition Information

    Bequeathed with the Estate of William R. Moran.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Pearl Ko and Christina Scholze, 2011.

    Biographical Note

    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 I and II comprise the personal, biographical and work related documents of Robert and William Moran, including the closed Moran 1963 Trust subseries.
    Series III, 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), subject, or size. Subseries III.1 Prints and Negatives, begins with photographs related to the the early oil industry in Southern and Central California (and a small number of other locations) under the heading "Oil", in order to maintain and highlight their original order and provenance.
    Photographs in Subseries II.10 have been left with the personal/biographical materials in Series II. (William Rodes Moran) in order to maintain their provenance.


    WRM = William R. Moran, RBM = Robert B. Moran, EVM = Edna V. Moran

    Box Type by Number

    DOCUMENT BOXES: 1-20, 31-54, 60-108, 113-125, 128-135.
    OVERSIZE BOXES: 21-22, 55-57, 126-127.
    SHOEBOXES: 23-30, 58-59, 109-112.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Black-and-white negatives
    Stereoscopic photographs
    Color slides
    Black-and-white prints
    Petroleum industry and trade -- California -- History
    Union Oil Company of California
    Moran, William R. -- Archives
    Moran, Robert B., 1879-1961 -- Archives
    Standard Oil Company