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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:831 1864-1879 C899

George Lewis Crawford papers on the Pennsylvania oil industry


The papers of George L. Crawford, Esq., document his involvement with members of the early Pennsylvania oil industry.


  • 1864-1879

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. Please contact for more information.


0.5 linear feet (1 box)

This collection contains the papers of George L. Crawford, an attorney who represented various parties involved in the early Pennsylvania oil industry. His papers, 1864-1879, include correspondence, legal documents, financial records, and a map. Major parties represented in the papers include Paul A. Davis, Alexander Garrett, James O'Connor, the Schuylkill and Oil Creek Oil Company, the Philadelphia Oil and Cement Company, and the Pittsburgh and Oil Creek Petrona Company. Correspondence from Paul A. Davis, 1867-1879, largely regards trespass suits and bad debts. James O'Connor's letters, 1869, concern the court case O'Connor vs. Tack Bros., et al, in which James O'Connor sued Theodore Tack, Augustus Tack, and others for an alleged conspiracy to manipulate the price of oil and defraud him of $30,000. The remaining correspondence, 1865-1878, includes letters written by William Elkins and others, and notably features a letter to Alexander Garrett from the Office of the Schuylkill and Oil Creek Oil Company stating that Garrett's resignation as Director and Treasurer of the company has been received but not accepted due to discrepancies in his financial records. Legal records, 1871-1876, consists of summonses, legal announcements, contracts, and other official court documents. The Alexander Garrett accounts and stock statements, 1864, and receipts and deposits, 1864-1865, consist of financial documents related to the Schuylkill and Oil Creek Oil Company and Pittsburgh and Oil Creek Petrona Company. Financial records, 1864-1872, are comprised of receipts, bills, and a statement of refined coal oil remaining in a bonded warehouse dated April 1, 1866. The Plan of the Bennehoff Petroleum Company's Property, April 1865, is a large and colorful survey of the company's property that marks future drilling locations.

Historical Note:

In 1859, "Colonel" Edwin Drake drilled the first successful commercial oil well along Oil Creek in Titusville, Pennsylvania, starting a boom period of oil production. By 1862, three million barrels of oil a year were being produced in Pennsylvania. By 1873, production had reached ten million barrels per year. The majority of oil that was drilled and refined was exported to European markets, where it helped sustain ongoing industrialization. Although consolidation by Standard Oil starting in the 1870s eventually eliminated most competition, the early days of the Pennsylvania oil industry were marked by fierce competition among many smaller enterprises.

George L. Crawford was born in 1832. He attended Princeton University and graduated with a degree in law in 1851. Crawford practiced law in Philadelphia, eventually co-founding the law firm Crawford and Dallas. George L. Crawford passed away in 1908. Among his clients were several oil men and businesses involved in Pennsylvania's early oil industry.

Physical Location



Purchase, 2012.

Processing Information

Processed: March 2013

By: Timothy Walsh

George Lewis Crawford Papers on the Pennsylvania Oil Industry, 1864-1879: A Finding Aid
Baker Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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