Willard's World - 2

Willard's World - 2

BY Tim Barger / /

Fortunately for us, Willard was an enthusiastic, accomplished photographer. Thanks to him we have this fine collection of color pictures that truly capture the people of Aramco and the places of Arabia from 60 years ago.

Willard's World - 1

Willard's World - 1

BY Tim Barger / /

Willard Drumm was a senior Aramco executive through the 50s into the 60s. In his work he travelled to most of the company’s sites and installations in the kingdom, ranging from the Rub Al-Khali to the offshore field at Sufaniya.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 17

"Dear Folks": Chapter 17

BY Ken Slavin / /

Midway through the 1950s, Aramco continues to flourish, achieving the distinction of becoming the world’s largest oil company. In 1955 the company reaches a milestone by pumping out barrel number 2 billion of Saudi Arabian crude.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 16

"Dear Folks": Chapter 16

BY Ken Slavin / /

The second half of 1954 is a time of great change for the Webster family as younger daughter Susan leaves Dhahran at the tender age of 13 to attend boarding school in Switzerland. With older daughter Judy still at the American Community School in Beirut, it is Ken and Mildred’s first taste of “empty nest syndrome” and they have decidedly mixed feelings about it.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 14

"Dear Folks": Chapter 14

BY Ken Slavin / /

1953 is a memorable year in the history books. Most notably for Aramcons, it is the year when King Ibn Saud, the founder of Saudi Arabia, dies in the fall at the age of 73. His son, Crown Prince Saud, is named the new king by the royal family and another son, Faisal, is named crown prince.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 13

"Dear Folks": Chapter 13

BY Ken Slavin / /

Ken and Mildred Webster presented their younger daughter, Susan, with her own horse for her 12th birthday in January 1953. This was truly a momentous occasion in Susan’s childhood, as she was “horse crazy” from an early age and spent most of her free time riding and honing her horsemanship at The Hobby Farm for years prior to this special gift.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 12

"Dear Folks": Chapter 12

BY Ken Slavin / /

During the first week of 1952, Dhahran District Manager Ken Webster receives official word that he will attend Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program beginning in February.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 11

"Dear Folks": Chapter 11

BY Ken Slavin / /

1951 is a year of great change in the world, continued conflict in Korea and the Middle East (punctuated by the assassination of King Abdullah of Jordan, who is killed by a Palestinian extremist while praying at the Al Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem), and great economic and social recovery in Western Europe under the nearly completed U.S.-led Marshall Plan.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 9

"Dear Folks": Chapter 9

BY Ken Slavin / /

As Acting Manager of Aramco’s Transportation Department, Ken Webster embarks on many travels throughout Saudi Arabia in 1950 and describes them in detail to the folks back home in the States.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 8

"Dear Folks": Chapter 8

BY Ken Slavin / /

Ken Webster’s personal stationery, with a stylized color motif of a Bedouin and a camel caravan. 

"Dear Folks": Chapter 7

"Dear Folks": Chapter 7

BY Ken Slavin / /

The remainder of 1948 is full of exponential growth for Aramco (more than 4,000 American and 17,000 Arab employees by mid-year), royal and military visits, and a social schedule that would cripple most.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 6

"Dear Folks": Chapter 6

BY Ken Slavin / /

1948 shapes up to be another boom year for the Aramco. Mildred Webster continues to chronicle her family's lives and interesting tales from Arabia. Ken Webster even manages to augment her faithful correspondence with a letter about some of his responsibilities as manager of Aramco's construction department.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 5

"Dear Folks": Chapter 5

BY Ken Slavin / /

Mildred Webster continues to be a faithful correspondent as she settles into the new house in Dhahran, works on committees and keeps up with the increasing “social whirl” that is expected of the wife of an up-and-coming Aramco executive. 

"Dear Folks": Chapter 10

"Dear Folks": Chapter 10

BY Ken Slavin / /

Mildred Webster continues to be a faithful correspondent as she settles into the new house in Dhahran, works on committees and keeps up with the increasing “social whirl” that is expected of the wife of an up-and-coming Aramco executive.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 4

"Dear Folks": Chapter 4

BY Ken Slavin / /

Mildred Webster, the official family “correspondent,” starts off the New Year of 1947 with a full report on Christmas activities in the camps, hopes for the family’s first home leave later in the year, and observations about her husband’s “playing” the Roupee market in Bahrain.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 3

"Dear Folks": Chapter 3

BY Ken Slavin / /

The summer and fall of 1946 turn out to be eventful times for Aramcons. Mildred Webster reports on a polio scare and resulting quarantine in Dhahran; Fourth of July celebrations in the camps; the continued arrival of wives and children from America; Arabia’s first American schoolhouse and the formation of the first Girl Scout troop in the Kingdom; and the growing sense of “family” among the Aramcons in Ras Tanura and Dhahran.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 2

"Dear Folks": Chapter 2

BY Ken Slavin / /

“It seems like we’ve always been here…” Mildred Webster (known to family and friends as “Mimi”) proves a very thorough, observant and entertaining correspondent.

The Webster Letters Revisited

The Webster Letters Revisited

BY Aramco ExPats / /

Every now and then, AramcoExPats.com strikes gold with one of its features. Such was the case back in 2007 when we published a series of letters written by the late Ken Webster, who began his long service with Aramco in 1944, with World War II still raging.

"Dear Folks": Chapter 1

"Dear Folks": Chapter 1

BY Ken Slavin / /

Ken Webster began his oil industry career in 1931, shortly after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

Abu Hamid

Abu Hamid

BY Tim Barger / /

It was November 18th, 1978. Two years earlier I had started a video electronics business in Jeddah that serviced video equipment, installed closed-circuit TV systems in hotels, hospitals, and compounds, and distributed the only legitimate video programming in a country awash in bootleg videos.