Warwick Miller Downing papers, 1893-1960

Overview of the Collection

Downing, Warwick Miller, 1875-1964.
Warwick Miller Downing papers
1893-1960 (inclusive)
1919-1960 (bulk)
175.00 cubic feet (384 boxes)
Collection Number
American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming
American Heritage Center
University of Wyoming
1000 E. University Ave.
Dept. 3924
Laramie, WY
Telephone: 3077663756
Access Restrictions
Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions on the materials for research purposes, and the collection is open to the public.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Downing was an attorney, petroleum pioneer, investor and conservationist from Denver, Colorado. Originally from Illinois, he began practicing law in Denver in 1895 with special interest in cases relating to the oil industry. He later entered the oil industry and became a major developer of the Oregon Basin and Salt Creek oil fields in Wyoming. He served as a corporate officer of the Reiter Foster Oil Corporation, Oregon Basin Oil & Gas Corporation, and the Fremont Petroleum Company.

Throughout his career Downing advocated conservation of oil and gas resources, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Interstate Oil Compact Commission. He also lobbied for creation of the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, for which he served as chair from 1932 to 1963. While serving on the IOCC and the CO & GCC, he also was member or director of the National Petroleum Council, American Petroleum Institute, Independent Petroleum Association of America, and the Rocky Mountain Oil & Gas Association. In addition he was chair of the Mountain Parks Committee of the Denver Park Commission, which created the parks system west of Denver. Downing married Emma Leet in 1897; they divorced in 1915.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection documents Downing's career in the oil industry with emphasis on the Oregon Basin Oil & Gas Corporation and the development of the Oregon Basin, the Reiter Foster Oil Corporation, and the Interstate Oil Compact Commission. The bulk (about 140 cubic ft.) consists of alphabetic subject files (1920s-1950s) containing correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, leases, abstracts. and legal agreements. Numerous files are included on the Oregon Basin, Reiter Foster, the IOCC, the IPAA and API, the Colorado state legislature, and many other corporations and individuals.

Also included are Downing's business correspondence files (about 30 cubic ft.) for 1919-1951, including correspondence with his son, Richard (1898- ). There are also oil well logs (1920s-1930s) of the Midwest Refining Company for wells in many states, and corporate minutes (1893-1941) for the Surety Investment Company.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Copyright Information

The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Preferred Citation

Preferred Citation

Item Description, Box Number, Folder Number, Collection Name, Collection Number, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Related Materials

Related Materials

See also the Warwick M. Downing Papers, 1916-1920 at the Denver Public Library; Denver, Colorado.

Acquisition Information

Acquisition Information

Processing Note

Processing Information

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Subordinate Component # 1Return to Top

The American Heritage Center is in the process of converting its older container list)s to a more accessible format. This link is to an older version of a container list.


Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Conservation of natural resources -- United States.
  • Gas industry -- United States.
  • Natural gas -- Conservation -- United States.
  • Oil fields -- Wyoming.
  • Oil wells -- United States.
  • Parks -- Colorado.
  • Petroleum conservation -- United States.
  • Petroleum industry and trade -- United States.
  • Petroleum law and legislation -- United States.
  • Practice of law -- Colorado -- Denver.

Personal Names

  • Barrett, Frank.
  • Hill, Charles S.
  • Meyer, Joe.
  • Pettigrew, T. M.
  • Sullivan, Bruce.
  • Taylor, Robert G.

Corporate Names

  • American Petroleum Institute.
  • Buck Queen Mines.
  • Colorado Midland Oil Company.
  • Colorado. Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
  • Fern Oil Company.
  • Fremont Petroleum Company.
  • Independent Petroleum Association of America.
  • National Petroleum Council.
  • Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Association.
  • Tonapah Mining Company.

Geographical Names

  • Colorado -- Industries -- Energy conservation.
  • Denver (Colo.)
  • Oregon Basin.
  • Rocky Mountains -- Industry.
  • Salt Creek oil field.


  • Conservationists.

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Downing, Richard, 1898-
    Corporate Names
    • Interstate Oil Compact Commission.
    • Midwest Refining Company.
    • Oregon Basin Oil and Gas Corporation.
    • Reiter Foster Oil Corporation.
    • Surety Investment Company.