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Fascinating Documents from Woman’s Right Oil & Gas Company, Chartered in Oklahoma by Women
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“There is no valid reason why a woman familiar with oil business, cannot carry on the work as well as a man. WE CAN DO SO AND WILL.”

This collection of three items from March to June 1917 documents the efforts of Oklahoma businesswomen to secure funds to begin a company in the rich oil fields during World War I. Ohio native Vida Luella Dandoy was the president, while Prudence A. Brown was vice president, and Brown’s youngest daughter Minnie Lee Kessler served as secretary-treasurer. The trio failed to obtain sufficient capital to finance the drilling of wells, and the venture seems to have failed by July 1917.

[WOMEN’S HISTORY]. Archive of Woman’s Right Oil & Gas Co., 1917, Okmulgee, Oklahoma. 6 pp.

Inventory #27460       Price: $4,500

Highlights and Excerpts
Printed Document, Prospectus of the Womans Right Oil and Gas Co., ca. May 1917, Okmulgee, Oklahoma. 4 pp., 11 x 8.5 in. (unfolded to 2 pp.), on yellow paper. Some toning; staining on final page.

In the development of natural resources the shrewd American investor finds larger and surer returns than in any industrial or commercial investment. All he asks is a square deal and an honest expenditure of his money. This is exactly what we propose to give when we offer you stock in the Womans Right Oil & Gas Co., with its holdings in one of the richest oil sections in Oklahoma, and known as the Okmulgee field.... the officers and directors of the Womans Right Oil & Gas Co. stand high in business ability, integrity and sound judgment, and can be relied upon to administer the affairs of the company to the best interests of the stockholders. None of the officers or directors draw a salary. Every dollar derived from the sale of stock of the corporation, less the bare, legitimate expenses necessary to do business, will be honestly and faithfully expended in drilling wells.” (p1)

Three essentials are necessary to produce the opportunity: The Time, the Place, the Thought or Idea.” (p2)

There has never been a better opportunity, in our judgment, in the history of the oil business, than there is right now to make quick and big money.” (p2)

On account of the World wide war, into which our own country has been forced, the demand for oil and gasoline is on the increase, and in our judgment, an increase in value can be looked for, instead of a decline.” (p2-3)

The Womans Right Oil and Gas Company is incorporated under the laws of Oklahoma with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars, the par value of the stock being one dollar per share.... As indicated by its title, this is a womans company; the officers and management are composed of women. There is no valid reason why a woman familiar with oil business, cannot carry on the work as well as a man. WE CAN DO SO AND WILL.” (p3)

Mrs. M. L. Kessler, Printed Document Signed, Letter from the Woman’s Right Oil & Gas Co., [blank addressee], 1917, Okmulgee, Oklahoma. 1 p., 8.5 x 13.5 in. Expected folds, very good.

The Woman’s Right Oil & Gas Co., incorporated under the laws of Oklahoma, capitalized for $100,000, par value being one dollar per share; 60,000 shares of this stock now on the market and offered for fifty cents per share. The directors of this company are familiar with the oil and gas business, having been engaged in the oil business for the past twelve years.

A few dollars invested in this company now may make you a fortune or provide a comfortable income for years to come. We believe that stock bought now at fifty cents per share will in less than a year be at part and perhaps many times over.

There is no reason why a woman where she is familiar with the oil business, cannot carry on the work and make a success as well as a man.WE CAN DO SO AND WILL. We propose to operate in Oklahoma proven oil fields, and our object is to raise enough capital to drill several wells before starting work.

“We expect to conduct the business of this company along purely business lines and make the Woman’s Right Oil & Gas Co. a big and successful corporation in the oil and gas fields of the U.S. Therefore, through this medium of advertising we expect to sell 60,000 shares of stock at 50 cents per share.”

Typed Document Initialed, Telegram of Henry C. Kessler to E. A. Hill, July 23, 1917, Okmulgee, Oklahoma. On The Womans Right Oil & Gas Company letterhead. 1 p., 8.625 x 7.375 in. Expected folds; some toning.

I dont think we can satisfy those parties in O City, if they turn down a proposition like the one I give them in Section 2, a well 3/4 of a mile off marked dry, you cannot get much better stuff in this country, and the well in 2 marked dry had a fine showing of oil in it. if this will interest them give it to them  The west half of the South-West of Section 10 Tp 14, N.R. 12 East, will turn them either the SW¼ of SW¼ or NW¼ of SW¼ of the section, 40 acres, you and I will have the other 40 acre tract, they to drill any place on the East line of the 40 they take. if this interests them they can come over any time this week, you can let me know when you will be here with them.

This telegram may represent Henry C. Kessler’s attempt to sell off at least a portion of the land that the Woman’s Right Oil & Gas Company owned after the stock subscription effort failed.

Historical Background
The Woman’s Right Oil & Gas Company of Okmulgee, Oklahoma, received a charter in March 1917. The officers included Mrs. V. L. Dandoy as President, Mrs. P. A. Brown as Vice President, and Mrs. M. L. Kessler as Secretary-Treasurer. By late May, they were advertising the sale of stock by publishing a prospectus and advertisements in newspapers in Oklahoma and Kansas. There are no references to the company in local newspapers after July 1, 1917, so it seems likely that the company never acquired the necessary capital to drill any wells. Perhaps the prospect of women managing a business doomed it to failure given the prevailing attitudes of the time, or it was simply one of many oil companies that failed to establish themselves during the Oklahoma oil boom times.

Okmulgee has been the capital of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation since 1868, when it was founded. The town became a transportation center in the early twentieth century, when railroads were built in the area. By the time Oklahoma became a state in 1907, the town had more than 2,300 residents and was named the seat of Okmulgee County. The discovery of oil in nearby Morris in 1907 began the expansion of the local economy, and there were five local refineries in operation by the early 1920s. The city boomed from a population of just over 4,000 in 1910 to more than 17,400 in 1920 and as many as 35,000 during the 1920s. However, decreasing oil production, the stock market crash, and the Great Depression caused the area to go into decline.

Vida Luella Setchell Dandoy (1874-1941) was born in Ohio. In 1892, she married Joseph E. Indelkofer in Ohio, and they had two sons. By 1910, they had divorced, and she later married George F. Dandoy/D’Andoy (b. 1872), who had immigrated from Belgium in 1880 and worked in a glass factory in Fort Smith, Arkansas, by 1920.

Prudence Anna Hopper Brown (1848-1925) was born in Arkansas. In 1866, she married Confederate veteran and farmer William Jasper Brown (1846-1917), with whom she had at least eight children, including Minnie Lee Brown. After her husband died in Oklahoma in January 1917, she seems to have joined her youngest daughter in managing the Womans Right Gas & Oil Company venture.

Minnie Lee Brown Kessler Allen (1888-1977) was born in Arkansas. In 1907, she married real estate broker Henry C. Kessler (1867-1955), and they had at least two children. In the 1920 census, both she and her husband are listed as active in the oil well industry. She married Native American James Allen (1892-1981) in 1944, and in the 1950 census for Tulsa, Oklahoma, he is listed as a salesman and oil broker, and her daughter Almeda Kessler Townsend (1911-1989) is also listed as a salesperson and oil broker.

Very Rare. No similar documents from this company are found by us in auction records or among the catalogs of our colleagues.

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