The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas on August 30, 1987 · Page 21
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The Baytown Sun from Baytown, Texas · Page 21

Baytown, Texas
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 30, 1987
Page 21
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Page 21 article text (OCR)

The Bee Exxon Annuitants Association volunteers indexing magazine THE BAYTOWN SUN Sunday, August 3D, Wt7 7-B Twenty-three years of Baytown and Humble Oil history are getting some organization at Sterling Municipal Library these days. Volunteers from the Exxon Annuitants Association are indexing each issue of The Humble Bee, a magazine published by Humble Oil from 1935 to 1958. Denise Fischer, assistant librarian, said that the library is one of few owners of a collection of the magazine. The copies have been in the library's possession for a number of years, but the staff didn't realize the rarity of them. They thought Exxon had a collection of Bees also, said Mrs. Fischer. When the library staff discovered that Exxon had discarded its collection, it approached the annuitants about indexing the magazines, and the annuitants formed an indexing committee. Committee members are James Selkirk, Glyn Taylor, L.J. Weiler, Bobbie Norris. Gigi Gieger. Bernice AJvis, Willadene Hines, Jim Alvis, Ann Jones, Winnie Nell Laird and Shirley Langford. The task is not easy. The volunteers must go through the magazines one article at a time and record the subject of each story on an index card. Annuitants say they are enjoying it though. James Selkirk, while indexing a 1935 issue, discovered a picture of his best man being awarded the rank of Eagle Scout. "I'm going to write him a letter and tell him," Selkirk said. Mrs. Fischer said that when annuitants first looked through the magazines she kept hearing laughter coming from the room they were in. It turned out they were discovering pictures of old bosses and engagement announcements of relatives. Bernice Alvis is the chairman of the committee and she is hoping to interest other annuitants in helping out with the job. Mrs. Fisher also mentioned that the library has obtained issues of the Humble News and the Humble Way, successors to the Bee, and that the library ultimately would like to index these publications too. THESE COVER pages of Humble Bee magazine* show the Humble Community Building. Both of Community Building center of social life , Located on company property next to the Humble Dormitory, the Humble Community Building used 10 be the center of social life in Baylown and it turned up in every issue of the Bee. Dances, school plays. Boy Scout and Girl Scout meetings and other group meetings all were held at the center, and it was not unusual to read Several different stories in one issue of the Bee about events at the building. As years passed, the Humble Bee maintained its popularity. During World War II. it pulled the rfurriuic COtTiiTiufiity together wuh 3 strong patriotic theme These wartime issues included a department called "Humble Men in the Service" that featured short anecdotes on the activities of Humble workers fighting the war. These issues also provided encouragement for the workers at home with stories on production records, such as billion barrel day. and safety coals. After the war. the Bee appeared to focus even more on community events while still maintaining an emphasis on Humble. It was not unusual to see a picture of Robert E. Lee High School students or an employee's baby on the cover. Inside, one would fihd high school sports coverage alongside updates on the Humble Oilers. these issues were published in 1935, December and the other in October. one tn O.B. LEE was an editorial assistant on the Humble Bee staff. Life span of Humble Bee: 1935-58 In May of 1958 H.W. Ferguson, vice president in charge of refining and sales for Humble Oil, wrote In the editorial column of a local magazine for Humble oil workers. "With this May issue, publication of the Humble Bee is suspended. According to O.B. Lee, editorial assistant at that time, the publication "had outlived its usefulness." But it was a usefulness that served Humble employees and their families for more than 30 years, giving readers a mixture of safety tips, refinery news and community news. What had begun as a project of Humble refinery workers in the early 20s developed over the years Into one of the most popular family magazines in Baytown. The Bee originally started as a gossip-type tabloid in the early 20s. These editions were centered on "All the Buzz from Baytown," a names-and-noles column that told employees about the activities of their co-workers. Workers composed these earliest editions. ; tn 1925 the newspaper changed its focus to promote the new community building and a recreation program that had been established there. It was about this time that G.A. "Pop" Mabry was named editor of the paper. He would hold that title until the magazine ceased to exist in 1958. ; Mabry said that in the late 20s when the recreation program stopped the Bee was shut down too. However, in the early 30s the* Humble sales department started printing a magazine called the Sales Lubricator. Its popularity with all Humble workers prompted the company to revive the Bee — this time in magazine form. The revival, Mabry pointed out, was prompted by "the fact that there was just so much going on. Humble was expanding to a global market." In that first magazine, dated February 14, 1935, Mabry wrote: "This is the first issue of the Humble Refinery Bee, a new publication which revives an old name and an old institution. "It is new because it comes to it readers in completely different form — it is old because for many years the Humble Bee carried little stories of Baytown people; recorded incidents of our every day life; humorous incidents, serious incidents; happy incidents and tragic ones. The Bee was a part of Baytown, carrying a moving story from week to week which reflected the life of the community." "And the Bee will buzz again," the editorial concluded. The person most responsible for making the Bee buzz was associate editor Norman D'Olive. Though Mabry held the title of editor, he worked in Houston and D'Olive really shaped the Bee into the magazine that the people of Baytown knew. EXXON ANNUITANTS Association volunteers are Indexing collection of Humble Bee magazines at Sterling Municipal Library. Seated, from left, are Bobby Jean Norris, Geraldine Gieger, Olga Alvis [ and J.E. Selkirk. Standing, from left, are J.B. Alvis, L.J. Weiler and G.R. Taylor.{ WILLADENE MINES, left, amd Olg* Alvis enjoy looking over the old issues of the Humble Bee at Sterling Municipal Library. They recognize many faces and places of past years here. Stories by Scott Smith Photos by Carrie Pryqr Loivry recalls working on staff Editor Norman D'Olive believed in lots of names and pictures Glenn Lowry, who served as staff assistant of the Humble Bee for a year, said that Norman D'Olive, a self-taught editor, operated under the old journalism principle: You can't use too many names or too many pictures. "He knew the names of even-body," Lowry said. "You never had to worry if you took a photograph and didn't get the names of the people for the outline because Norman knew everybody." The first edition set the style of using of names and pic- GLENN LOWRY tures. Thrown in with stories on the annual statement, personnel changes, the Baytown Booster Club and the Humble Club were reports on the Boy Scout Silver Jubilee Celebration and an operetta presented by Baytown Elementary School students. Along with the stories were pictures, usually about two per page. Every issue of the magazine contained this mixture that gave the publication such a strong appeal to Humble workers and their families. There were pictures of Humble Day celebrations. Humble Oiler semi-pro baseball games. Rainbow Girl meetings, retirees and their families, welders, painters, engineers, tankers and a number of other people and things. In April of 1935 the magazine included a woman's section that told of engagements, weddings and club meetings. This section too was full of names and pictures. As with the old Bee though, the most popular section was "All the Buzz from Baytown." Written by correspondents in the different refinery departments, it was "a way that a whole lot of people got recognized as people," according to Lee. The column had a good deal of kidding and hinting at humorous mishaps or romances mixed in with get-well wishes and birth announcements. Mysterious entries like, "There may be 'nothing new under the sun,' but there's some pretty old stuff going on under the moon," might not have meant anything to most readers, but the workers would understand and get a laugh out of it. Entries of this nature characterized the nature of the Buzz and gave the Bee a style that entertained its readers. "You had to edit that stuff like crazy. They would imply things that might cause divorce," said O.B. Lee about the "Buzz." For those family members who didn't understand everything that went on in the Buzz, the Bee's coverage of community events carried strong appeal. Many of these features focused on events at the Community Building. Baytown Briefs started up in'53 with weekly news The beginning of the end of the Mumble Bee came about in 1953 with the Baytown Briefs, a weekly news-oriented publication at Humble's Baytown Refinery. It brought information to Humble workers at a faster rate than the monthly Bee. The Suez Canal crisis in 1957 brought about an oil glut and in 1958 Mumble had to make some cuts. It was decided at this time to combine the Bee with the Briefs. The last issue was published in May of 1958. After suspension of the Bee, Norman D'Olive was moved to Humble's public relations department, O.B. Lee transferred to the Briefs staff and a secretary went to the accounting department. \ The only staff reduction was Glenn Lowry, who today says laughingly, "I am one of few people who was ever outright find by HwnMeOtl." Hht day altar IM WM fttvA> Lwwry wwt to wwfc lor Utt waytawn

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