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Donald C. Barton Papers

Identifier: MSS 0005

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of his business and some personal correspondence from 1922 to 1929 with the bulk of the material spanning the years 1927-1929. Three of the volumes contain correspondence between Dr. Barton and the Freeport Sulphur Company (1927-1928), the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas (1926-1929), and the Association of Petroleum Geologists (1929). Most of the other volumes detail the first two years of his career as a consulting geologist. It reflects business transactions between Dr. Barton and his clients as well as letters of inquiry from parties both in the United States and Europe. Some of the material is technical, dealing with techniques of geophysical exploration in addition to the areas of exploration.


  • 1922-1929
  • Majority of material found within 1927-1929


The collection is predominantly in English. Some of the materials are in French.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Donald C. Barton Papers must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical Note

Donald C. Barton (1889-1939) was born in Stowe, Mass., on June 29, 1889. He graduated from Harvard in 1911 and received a Ph.D. in geology in 1914. He served in the United States Army Signal Corps during World War I. He came to Houston in 1919, and was employed with the Rydale and Rycale oil companies. From 1927 to 1934 he operated his own business as a consulting geologist. From 1934 until his death, he was employed by the Humble Oil Company. He was considered an authority on salt dome formations and their relation to oil pools. Dr. Barton was also a pioneer in the use of the torsion balance for oil exploration and made trips to Europe and elsewhere to study the method for adoption in the Gulf Coast oil zones. He was active in professional and academic circles as a contributor of articles and papers on the scientific aspects of oil exploration and gained national prominence as a geophysicist. Dr. Barton served as president of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and was a member of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers.


2.25 Linear Feet


The collection has been maintained in its original bound book form. Correspondence in each volume is arranged by alphabet, although the order is not always reliable, especially with volumes of business and professional correspondence. The dates indicated on the volumes reflect the latest and earliest dated letters found in the volume. The greatest portion of the collection, however, is dated 1927-1929. Dating within each volume is generally consecutive, but again it is not always reliable. No index to the correspondence is available.

Acquisition Information

Donated by Unknown Donor, 1942.

Processing Information

Processed by Louis Marchiafava, Jan. 4, 1977.
Donald C. Barton Papers
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Houston Metropolitan Research Center Repository


(832) 393-1662

The African American Library at the Gregory School
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
M Closed | T 10-6 | W 10-6 | Th 12-8 | F 10-5 | Sa 10-5 | Su Closed
Houston Metropolitan Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002
M Closed T 10-6 W 10-6 Th 12-8 F 10-5 Sa 10-5 Su Closed