A Guide to the Harold E. Berg Collection, 1983-1991
Before his death in 1976, J. Paul Getty personally selected Harold E. Berg to succeed him as president of the Getty Oil Company. In 1984, Texaco bought Getty Oil. Berg played a prominent role in the Pennzoil-Texaco dispute of December 1985. In this landmark case, Pennzoil claimed that Texaco had fraudulently convinced the Getty Oil Company to break the binding merger contract between Getty and Pennzoil that resulted in Pennzoil’s loss of a billion barrels of choice oil reserves. The court decided in favor of Pennzoil even though Pennzoil had never signed a formal contract for the original deal. Texaco, Incorporated, was ordered to pay nearly $11 billion to Pennzoil Company.
Source: Petzinger, Thomas. The Texaco-Pennzoil wars: Inside the $11 Billion Battle for Getty Oil. Beard Books, 1999.
The Harold E. Berg Collection, 1983-1991, includes correspondence, legal documents, and printed material related to the Pennzoil-Texaco litigation over the acquisition of Getty Oil. This collection documents an important Texas oil industry legal battle and also pertains to the larger history of the United States oil industry. The bulk of the material is comprised of Berg’s copies of legal briefs, transcripts, and correspondence. Also included in the collection are minutes of Getty Oil board meetings, Texaco’s bankruptcy disclosure statements, and a copy of Texaco’s offer to purchase Getty Oil, January 1984. Additionally, the collection contains Berg’s copies of deposition transcripts of the case of Berg, et al. vs. First State Insurance Co. et al., January 1988. Furthermore, the papers contain printed material including a Texaco stockholders report, a copy of Fortune magazine, January 1985, and a copy of Newsweek magazine, January 1986, that relate to the legal dispute.
The collection is open for research.
Harold E. Berg Collection, 1983-1991, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection is unprocessed. Contact repository for more information.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project, 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers