UH Libraries News

TPC Group Donates Historical Archives to UH Special Collections

University of Houston Libraries is pleased to announce the receipt of historical archives from TPC Group. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, TPC Group is a leading producer of value-added petrochemical products for chemical, plastics, refining, synthetic rubber and other major industries. It has manufacturing facilities in Houston and Port Neches, Texas, and operates a product terminal in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Petro-Tex Chemical Corporation Panel Truck, 1957

Petro-Tex Chemical Corporation Panel Truck, 1957

The archives, which include publications, photographs, administrative and business records, architectural and technical drawings, films, and press materials, will be preserved and made accessible to the public, as part of the UH Special Collections Energy & Sustainability Research Collection. The Energy & Sustainability Research Collection at the University of Houston Libraries documents Houston’s place as the global capital of the energy industry that continues to shape the city’s and the world’s technologies, economies, politics, environments, and cultures. Collections support a core university priority for research, teaching, and learning, and uniquely preserve the documentary history of exploration, innovation, development, and growth in oil and gas, alternative energies, and the environment.

In 2019, TPC Group marked 75 years of operation. Sara Cronin, vice president of communications and public affairs at TPC Group, noted the company’s propitious trajectory since its inception.

“Originally built by the United States Government during World War II as part of the Synthetic Rubber Program, our manufacturing facilities played a significant role during that time in our nation’s history,” Cronin said. “In 1944, the United States Government sought alternatives to the natural rubber supply in Asia that our country could no longer access. Innovative thinkers collaborated and gained strength from one another to develop and manufacture synthetic rubber and needed raw materials, including specification 1,3 butadiene. This noteworthy beginning for what is now TPC Group not only helped the United States win the war but has had a profound impact on how we now live our daily lives.”

Petro-Tex Chemical Corporation Librarian Leona Drouet, 1955

Petro-Tex Chemical Corporation Librarian Leona Drouet, 1955

Christian Kelleher, head of UH Libraries Special Collections and curator of the Energy & Sustainability Research Collection, said, “The TPC Group Historical Archives make available to UH faculty, students, visiting scholars, and our local community unique, primary source documentation of Houston’s petrochemical industrial history. Researchers in the archives will be able to discover new, historical insights about our region’s significance to American engagement in World War II, how scientific and technological advancements have both motivated and responded to their industry and business contexts, and how society’s many different concepts and ideals of sustainability in our local and global communities have evolved over the company’s 75 years.”

TPC Group was inspired to donate its archives to UH Special Collections as part of its commitment to corporate citizenship, investment and engagement in the Houston and Port Neches communities. The company’s history and culture of partnership, support, and transparency comprise the themes that emerge from the archive.

“Beyond the products TPC Group makes is the commitment to do so in a manner that is protective of our environment, community and nearby neighbors,” Cronin said. “Entrusting the preservation and documentation of the Company’s history with UH Libraries Special Collections will ensure the elements of our Company’s culture underscore how TPC Group’s story will be told, highlighting its role in the petrochemical industry and the value of its products to society for many generations to come.”

J.W. Morris, 1957

J.W. Morris, 1957

“We are very pleased to receive the historical archive of the TPC Group,” said dean of UH Libraries Lisa German. “We appreciate the trust that TPC is placing in UH Libraries to preserve and make their archives accessible to scholars seeking an understanding of the history of innovation and development of the energy industry in Houston and the Port Neches community.”

The collection is currently being processed. For questions about materials in this collection or to request access, contact Christian Kelleher.

Written by Esmeralda Fisher on October 23rd, 2019 and filed under Announcements, Featured, New Resource, Special Collections