Ross Sterling

Ross Shaw Sterling (1875-1949) purchased two oil wells in 1910, chartering the Humble Oil and Refining Company the following year. He served as president until 1925, when he sold his interests to pursue Houston real estate development. He subsequently bought two local newspapers to form the Houston Post-Dispatch. In addition to its growing newspaper circulation, the company also operated KPRC Radio and eventually KPRC-TV. Sterling was elected the 31st Governor of Texas in 1931—a critical moment for the Texas oil industry amid rampant overproduction and the Great Depression. After losing his race for reelection, Sterling returned to Houston and established the Sterling Oil and Refining Company.

Home movies from the Ross Sterling Collection capture both his rising political prominence and the family’s position among Houston elite society.