This month marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Standard Oil refinery in Baton Rouge. The Standard Oil Company — also known as Esso, and now ExxonMobil — has had a tremendous economic, social, and technological impact on Baton Rouge. Despite its importance, there are currently few oral histories to document the company’s influence and achievements in the community.
The Center is launching an oral history project to begin to close this gap. The History of Standard Oil/ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge Series will focus interviews on older people in the community who can provide information about the role that the company played in the development of Baton Rouge during the Great Depression, World War II, and the early Post-War era. We are interested in conducting interviews with men and women who represent a cross-section of the community — from former executives to manual laborers. If you, or someone you know, would be interested in being considered for an oral history interview, please fill out this survey form or contact the Center directly at 225-578-6577. We will be selecting ten to twelve interview candidates for the initial stage of the project this summer, so it’s important that you fill out the form in as much detail as possible. For this first stage, the Center will focus on the 1930s-1955. Of course, if any candidates have memories from the 1920s, we are very interested!
To commemorate the anniversary, LSU Libraries Special Collections is hosting an exhibition, “A Century of Standard Oil in Baton Rouge,” featuring early 20th century photographs taken by Standard Oil executive, J.A. Bechtold, currently on loan to the LSU Libraries Special Collections by his granddaughter, Marna Shortess. To learn more, please visit the Special Collections Exhibitions page: