Research in the Archives - Travel Blog #2

Dear Friends and Students – I have given up the hope of writing this blog in order. I am already so far behind. The first three weeks I spent time with numerous friends and it was flat out every day. I will give you details over the next week when I am alone and have more time. Hopefully I can get caught-up.

Right now, I am at the BP Archives researching the I.P.C. documents and photographs. I am doing research on the company my father worked for when my family lived in Iraq when I was a child. I.P.C. stands for Iraq Petroleum Company and they discovered and developed the early oil industry in Iraq until Iraq nationalized the oil industry. The Archivesare located on the campus of the University of Warwick in Coventry. The campus is a beautiful modern marvel that is focused on the future with lots of banners about how they are leading the way in electronics, medicine, biotechnology, etc… and they have a flock of geese.

I’m staying at a B&B about a mile from campus and I walk in every day. I’m here for two weeks. The first couple of days have been really fun. I love doing research, just as I loved coming up with new ideas and real-world stories for my classes. Lots of it so far is historical and not completely relevant to the time I am writing about, but it gives great insight.

One memo that made me laugh was written in 1931 to the Chairman of I.P.C. from one of his directors. It began... “A meeting of the pipeline committee was held today... 2 1/2 hour discursive discussion took place but nothing really useful as a result of the meeting could, in my opinion, be recorded.” It went on to detail what was not decided and then ended on this note. “Mr. Agnew expressed himself as being very dissatisfied with the workings of the pipeline committee generally and was of the opinion a meeting like this morning’s was a pure waste of time, with which view I agree.” Sadly, little has changed in the corporate world.

When I told this story to my friend back home who works for a major studio, she said, “I could write 100's of memos like that!”

The Archivists are amazing, fun and fantastically helpful. Well, it is time for me to head out and do some more research. Thinking of you all.