LEBKICHER, Roy; George Rentz; Max Steineke.
Handbooks for American Employees.
Volume I: Part I, Aramco and World Oil; Part II, The Work and Life of Aramco Employees. Volume II: Part I, Background of Arabia and the Middle East; Part II, Saudi Arabia, the Government, the People and the Land; Part III, The Culture and Customs of the Arabs.
Revised edition, first published in 5 volumes in 1950. Uncommon, in the UK Copac records just one full set of the two volumes, at Oxford, and two copies of volume I alone, at Durham and LSE; sets are reasonably prevalent in American institutions. The handbooks were “designed to consolidate, in convenient form, information of particular interest and usefulness to American members of the Aramco organisation”; the first volume is concerned with Aramco itself, setting out the company history and locating Aramco in “its place in the oil industry and world economy”; the second, concentrating on the theatre of the company’s operations, provides the “background of Arabia and the Middle East … Saudi Arabia, the government, the people and the land … the culture and customs of the Arabs”. Lebkicher originally joined Standard Oil of California as a geologist in the Rocky Mountains in 1924. In 1933 he transferred to their San Francisco office training for overseas service, subsequently being based in the Hague and London, before making his first trip to Saudi Arabia in 1935. He spent most of the 30s and 40s in the States in charge of charge of government, public, and employee relations, later becoming assistant to the executive vice president. Transferred to Saudi in 1952, he celebrated his 30 years with the company in the post of Director of Training, explaining in the Aramco Dhahran house paper Sun & Flare that he had always “regarded Aramco as an American-directed enterprise having a very special importance in the world. The going has often been rough,. and there is still plenty to do and many problems to solve, but when I look at what Aramco has accomplished in 21 years since April 1933, I am happy and proud”. Lebkicher’s co-author George Rentz joined Aramco in 1946 having spent the war working in propaganda in Egypt with the Office of War Information, and remained with Aramco for 17 years, becoming the company’s leading authority on matters pertaining to Arabic and Arabia, he received his doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley in 1948, and his thesis on the Wahhabism and the origins of the Saudi Arabian state was finally published in 2006 as The Birth of the Islamic Reform Movement in Saudi Arabia. They were assisted in the compilation of the handbook by Max Steineke, chief geologist at California-Arabian Standard Oil Co. (CASOC), which became Aramco, from 1936 until 1950. Steineke is credited with the first discovery of oil in commercial quantities in Saudi Arabia. An interesting document of American-Arab relations in the mid-twentieth century. Excellently preserved copy of a somewhat self-destructive production.
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2 volumes, quarto. Vol. I in original green cloth lettered in gilt on spine and front board; vol. II wire spiral-bound in the original printed sand-grained card wraps. Profusely illustrated in colour and black and white, full-page coloured maps. Vol. I with bookplate to front pastedown, very lightly rubbed along extremities and a touch sunned on spine, an excellent copy; vol. II wraps a little rubbed at the extremities, some separation at the spine, but on the whole very good.