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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958

Book Reviews

The Resurgent Years, 1911-1927. By George Sweet Gibb and
Evelyn H. Knowlton. New York (Harper & Brothers), 1956.
Pp. xxii+754. Illustrations, maps, tables, notes, index, ap-
pendices. $7.50.
Almost inexorably the multi-volumed history of Standard Oil
Company (New Jersey) moves on, carrying forward the massive,
detailed, but never tedious story of one of the world's truly Big
Business units. This, the second volume, picks up the story with
the United States Supreme Court's dissolution decision which
forced Standard, a holding company, in a sense to start afresh and
carries that story for a decade and a half down to the latter 192o's,
when Standard became again a holding company. Throughout, it
is a story of management on a vast scale. And in a way it is a thrill-
ing story, for despite its massiveness Standard moves with the
agility, flexibility, and resilience of a Margot Fonteyn, changing,
bending, retreating, gliding upstage, always in step with the eco-
nomic and political harmonies of the moment, however dissonant
and cueless they may seem from the performer's viewpoint. Thus
Standard recoiled from the shock of dissolution, in which it lost
57 per cent of the values of its properties and 91 per cent of its
annual earning power, only to run headlong into the New Free-
dom, which looked on Bigness itself as immoral, and finally to
pass into the green pasture of Coolidge's New Era and another
frenzied era of "oil imperialism." At the close of the story here
Standard is, four times as large as the company which had emerged
from the Supreme Court's decision, and greater growth lies
still ahead.
For the student of Southwestern history this second volume
packs plenty of meat. The stories of Magnolia and Humble run
all through. Particularly Humble. In 1917 W. S. Farish and others
put together a producing company to fight the major oil com-
panies. Quickly the company became the fifth largest producer
in Texas, but its growth was threatened by inadequate working
capital. At 26 Broadway, on the other hand, Jersey Standard had
no shortage of working capital, but was hampered by insufficient
producing capacity. It also needed to recover the foothold it had
lost in Texas through the earlier misadventures of its Waters-
Pierce affiliate. Accordingly Standard sought a controlling interest
in Humble; Humble held out for even-Stephen.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/. Accessed September 30, 2014.