By the time Margaret Morehead Hobson (1890-1987) graduated from Bowling Green’s Potter College for Young Ladies in 1909, she had become known to her teachers and classmates for her artistic ability.
But over the next few years, Margaret had more practical things in mind as she searched for economic opportunity following the death of her father. In 1918, when Bowling Green became the center of a five-county oil boom, she schooled herself in the region’s geology, examined surveys, and established relationships with investors, petroleum scientists, and potential lessees. Eventually, she earned the rights to drill for oil in more than 14 Kentucky counties. Even as the oil boom subsided in the late 1920s, Margaret’s particular interest in the resources of Edmonson County put her into partnership with an association formed to secure national park status for Mammoth Cave. In exchange for drilling rights in the area, she obtained purchase options for the association covering some four thousand acres.
Besides her career in the oil industry, which lasted well past her eightieth birthday, Margaret was devoted to another traditionally masculine pursuit, fox-hunting. Still, her artistic ability and sense of style served her well. Maps she created for oil development projects became valuable resources for the Kentucky Geological Society. Margaret had also made it a rule to appear at every lease negotiation meticulously dressed and coiffed because, as this successful businesswoman put it, “first impressions are important.”
To download finding aids for collections at WKU’s Special Collections Library relating to the life and career of Margaret Morehead Hobson, click here and here.