Oral history interview with Donald A. Green and Willard C. Asbury

Oral history interview with Donald A. Green and Willard C. Asbury

  • 1985-Dec-09

Peter Morris starts this interview by asking Donald Green and Willard Asbury about the early years at Standard Oil Development Company and the influence of Frank Howard and Eger Murphree. The arc process is discussed as well as the level of assistance obtained from IG Farben; Green and Asbury recall the IG research organization. The wartime pressures during the development of GR-S, and the problems at the Baton Rouge plant are discussed by Green, while Asbury tells of his visit to Germany with the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey. The political recriminations of the prewar cooperation between Standard Oil and IG Farben are recollected as are visits to Germany in the 1930s and 1950s. The interview ends with a survey of the postwar move into chemicals, the Ziegler process and the future of the oil and petrochemical industries.

Property Value
Place of interview
Original file type PDF, MP3
  • 52 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

Peter J. T. Morris is currently at the Department of the History of Science and Technology of the Open University, where he is Royal Society-British Academy Research Fellow. Morris was educated at Oxford University receiving his BA, chemistry in 1978; DPhil, modern history in 1983, and he was a research fellow at the Open University from 1982 to 1984. During the period 1985–1987, Peter Morris was Assistant Director for Special Projects at the Beckman Center. He was the Royal Society–British Academy Research Fellow at the Open University, Milton Keynes, between 1987 and 1991, and Edelstein International Fellow in 1991–92. He is author of the monographs, Archives of the British Chemical Industry, 1800–1914 and Polymer Pioneers; his volume The American Synthetic Rubber Research Program was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in December 1989. Morris also co-edited Milestones in 150 Years of the Chemical Industry in 1991 and The Development of Plastics in 1994.

Physical location


Interviewee biographical information

Green, Donald A.

  • October 24, 1905
  • Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • April 26, 1988
  • Mountainside, New Jersey, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1926 Massachusetts Institute of Technology SB Chemical Engineering
1927 Massachusetts Institute of Technology SM Chemical Engineering

Professional Experience

Atmospheric Nitrogen Company

  • 1927 to 1929 Chemical Engineer

Solvay Process Company

  • 1929 to 1930 Chemical Engineer

Standard Oil Company

  • 1930 to 1935 Chemical Engineer

Esso Research and Engineering Company

  • 1936 to 1954 Director, Development Division
  • 1955 to 1958 Deputy Coordinator, Chemical Research

Enjay Chemical Company

  • 1958 to 1966 Vice President

Asbury, Willard C.

  • December 16, 1900
  • Portland, Maine, United States
  • April 27, 1986
  • Westfield, New Jersey, United States


Year Institution Degree Discipline
1925 Massachusetts Institute of Technology SB Chemical Engineering

Professional Experience

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • 1925 to 1927 Research Assistant, Laboratory of Applied Chemistry

Standard Oil Company of Louisiana

  • 1927 to 1929 Chemical Engineer

Standard Oil Development Company

  • 1929 to 1930 Chemical Engineer
  • 1933 to 1935 Chemical Engineer
  • 1940 to 1941 Assistant to the Vice President
  • 1941 to 1947 Manager, Research and Development

Hydrogenation Engineering and Chemical Company, Standard Oil

  • 1930 to 1933 Chemical Engineer

Standard Oil International Company

  • 1935 to 1936 Chemical Engineer

Standard Oil Company

  • 1936 to 1940 Executive, International Associates Ltd.

Esso Research and Engineering Company

  • 1947 to 1964 Vice President and Director
  • 1964 to 1965 Executive Vice President

Cite as

Willard C. Asbury and Donald A. Green, interviewed by Peter J. T. Morris in Westfield, New Jersey on December 9, 1985. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0065. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/x920fx72t.

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PDF — 166 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

5 Separate Interview Segments Archival-quality downloads