Oil Baron of the Southwest

Edward L. Doheny and the Development of the Petroleum Industry in California and Mexico

Martin R. Ansell

Historical Perspectives on Business Enterprise



pp. 6x9

$29.95 paper 978-0-8142-0750-5
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Martin R. Ansell provides the first comprehensive analysis of the business career of oilman Edward Laurence Doheny, one of the most colorful and successful entrepreneurs of the early twentieth century. Ansell begins Doheny’s story with the mining camps of the Old West during the 1870s. He shows how Doheny’s rough beginning contributed to his later success and demonstrates that the fabled “Doheny luck” was actually a combination of practical knowledge, visionary ideas, and executive skill.

Doheny was famous as the best oilman of his generation. In 1893, he became the first person to successfully drill for oil in Los Angeles, and he led the development of Southern California’s major oil fields. He went to Mexico in 1900 and carved an oil empire out of the jungle. Over the next twenty years, Doheny’s Mexican Petroleum Company produced more oil than any other organization in the world.

Because Doheny’s personal papers were destroyed after his death in 1935, there has been no previous systematic attempt to reconstruct his life. As a reappraisal of Doheny’s experience, this book adds significant new information about the early years of the oil industry and should be of interest to scholars of business history, the history of the American West, and the history of California and Mexico.

Martin R. Ansell teaches history at Brookhaven College in Dallas, Texas.