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Oral history interview with Jerry McAfee

  • 1993-Jul-26

Oral history interview with Jerry McAfee

  • 1993-Jul-26

Jerry McAfee begins this interview by discussing his parents and his childhood in Port Arthur, Texas. He became interested in chemical engineering at an early age because of the influence of his father who worked for Texaco and Gulf. McAfee studied chemical engineering at the University of Texas and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He worked for five years as a research and operating engineer for Universal Oil Products Company before accepting a position as technical specialist with Gulf Oil Corporation in Port Arthur. His career with Gulf took him to Pennsylvania, London, and Toronto. He served as Chairman of the Board and CEO of Gulf for six years before retiring in 1981. McAfee ends his interview by reflecting on his forty-year career in chemical engineering.

Property Value
Place of interview
  • 79 pages
Rights Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
Rights holder
  • Science History Institute
Credit line
  • Courtesy of Science History Institute

About the Interviewer

James J. Bohning was professor emeritus of chemistry at Wilkes University, where he had been a faculty member from 1959 to 1990. He served there as chemistry department chair from 1970 to 1986 and environmental science department chair from 1987 to 1990. Bohning was chair of the American Chemical Society’s Division of the History of Chemistry in 1986; he received the division’s Outstanding Paper Award in 1989 and presented more than forty papers at national meetings of the society. Bohning was on the advisory committee of the society’s National Historic Chemical Landmarks Program from its inception in 1992 through 2001 and is currently a consultant to the committee. He developed the oral history program of the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and he was CHF’s director of oral history from 1990 to 1995. From 1995 to 1998, Bohning was a science writer for the News Service group of the American Chemical Society. In May 2005, he received the Joseph Priestley Service Award from the Susquehanna Valley Section of the American Chemical Society.  Bohning passed away in September 2011.

Institutional location

Oral history number 0114

Related Items

Interviewee biographical information

  • November 03, 1916
  • Port Arthur, Texas, United States
  • October 14, 1995
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1937 University of Texas at Austin BS Chemical Engineering
1940 Massachusetts Institute of Technology ScD Chemical Engineering

Professional Experience

Universal Oil Products Company

  • 1940 to 1943 Research Chemical Engineer
  • 1943 to 1945 Operating Engineer

Gulf Oil Corporation

  • 1945 to 1950 Technical Specialist
  • 1955 to 1960 Vice President, engineering (refinery department)
  • 1960 to 1964 Vice President and Executive Technical Advisor
  • 1962 to 1964 Director of planning and economics
  • 1964 to 1967 Senior Vice President, Gulf Eastern Company, London
  • 1967 to 1969 Executive Vice President, British American Oil Company, Ltd., Toronto
  • 1969 to 1975 President and CEO, Gulf Oil Canada, Ltd., Toronto
  • 1975 to 1981 Chairman of the Board and CEO, Gulf Oil Corporation, Pittsburgh

Gulf Research & Development Co.

  • 1950 to 1951 Director, Chemistry Division
  • 1951 to 1954 Assistant Director of Research
  • 1954 to 1955 Vice President and Associate Director of Research


Year(s) Award
1958 Distinguished Engineering Graduate, The University of Texas
1963 Certificate of Appreciation, American Petroleum Institute, Division of Refining
1967 Member, National Academy of Engineering
1969 Founders Award, American Institute of Chemical Engineers
1971 Fellow, American Institute of Chemical Engineers
1981 Distinguished Service Award, Texas Mid-Continent Oil & Gas Association
1984 Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievement, American Petroleum Institute

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PDF — 544 KB

The published version of the transcript may diverge from the interview audio due to edits to the transcript made by staff of the Center for Oral History, often at the request of the interviewee, during the transcript review process.

Complete Interview Audio File Web-quality download

10 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads