The 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill promoted me to take a look through the Hall-Hoag collection to find an item relating to the spill. However, I came across something of a surprise that I wanted to share. The Exxon Pipeline Company printed a newsletter called The Liner and I was able to find a copy of it in the collection. Corporations like Exxon often have publications and Gordon Hall collected many of them. I believe that his reasoning was two-fold. 1) Many corporations were the target of other extremist groups and would publish responses. 2) Many corporations were involved in politics and had agendas to promote, but the item shared today does not quite fall into either category.
When I located the item I was expecting it to be about the Exxon Company and most likely pertaining to some aspect of the oil business. It is really just a showcase for an employee of the Exxon Pipeline Company, Norma Gabler who edited and wrote textbooks in Texas on the side job. Gabler’s work made her a prominent figure in education and she became somewhat controversial for her conservative views of education believing that “modern education was designed to undermine traditional, moral absolutist education.”
My guess is that Gordon Hall collected this item because he was interested in learning more about Gabler. It was a surprise because it seems unusual that he was able to locate this profile in a fairly obscure publication. This item also showcases how difficult it can be to classify the items in the collection without looking at them. The item is listed on an inventory as The Exxon Pipeline Company because they published the pamphlet, but the item really has nothing to do with oil or Exxon. What we really have here is something that would interest someone researching education in the 20th century in the U.S., but would be very difficult to find. Considering that there are 170,000 folders in the Hall Hoag Collection, it is not possible to spend this amount of time on each of them providing the somber proof that although we are working to make this collection visible, there were always be some aspects of it that remain hidden.