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The E.B. Hopkins Collection, no. 17 - Trip to Venezuela (1927)

Hamon Arts Library - SMU

Silent | 1927

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  •  En route to Maracay, Venezuela 
  •  The former home of Simón Bolívar 
  •  General Juan Vicente Gómez, president of Venezuela, and other members of his party inspect a water well 
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In this home movie from 1927, E.B. Hopkins travels to Maracay, Venezuela. While in and around the city, he visits the former plantation of Simón Bolívar and attends water well inspections. General Juan Vicente Gómez, the president (and arguably dictator) of Venezuela, is also present during the latter event. Hopkins no doubt knew Gómez through the former’s ties to the United States oil industry. After the discovery of petroleum in Venezuela in the 1910s, Gómez granted concessions to foreign oil companies to refine the reserves and develop their own fields. While the deal brought economic stability to Venezuela, much of the country’s wealth ended up in the hands of Gómez and foreign oilmen, furthering the United States and Europe’s dominating influence in Latin America.
Petroleum geologist and oilman Edwin Butcher Hopkins was born to Andrew Delmar and Delia (Butcher) Hopkins in Evans, West Virginia on October 25, 1882. He attended the University of West Virginia, George Washington University, and Cornell University before beginning work in the geological department of the Mexican-Eagle Oil Company. He was married to Amy Myrtilla Longcope Hopkins of Lampasas, Texas in 1913 at a wedding in Dallas. After several years of work with Mexican-Eagle and rising to the rank of field superintendent in charge of production and exploration in Mexico, Hopkins moved to Washington, D.C. in 1916 to begin consulting work as a geologist and petroleum engineer. Hopkins moved to Dallas in 1929 with his wife and young family to establish his home and permanent office, and he began work with the Petroleum Finance Corporation of Texas, the Drilling and Exploration Company, Inc., the Highland Oil Company, and the American Maracaibo Company. Hopkins also served as vice president of the American Petroleum Geological Association and as a member of the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers. He was a trustee of the Dallas Art Museum, the Dallas Public Library, and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Hopkins wrote many technical papers about his discoveries and work as a petroleum engineer and geologist, distinguishing himself within his field. He and his wife had five children: Amy (who went by Mimi), Jane, Louise, Madeline, and Edwin, Jr. E.B. Hopkins died in Dallas on July 5, 1940.