This article uncovers the hidden history of Desk and Derrick, a female-only petroleum industry employees’ club, to emphasize the importance of clerical work and support staff to oil industry development. In doing so, it demonstrates that despite the oil industry's mythology of individual inventors and lucky wildcatters, oil was remarkably similar to other large-scale scientific and engineering enterprises during the middle decades of the twentieth century. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, oil's white-collar and administrative jobs expanded rapidly. And in this industry as in others, women were fundamental to oil industry technological development and labor conflicts. Desk and Derrick's was a haven for working women, providing community, training, and leadership opportunities in an industry deeply hostile to female employees. The club provided numerous outreach and educational campaigns included seminars, workshops, fieldtrips, and conventions. These events showcased female competence and technical knowledge, clashing with union derision and corporate dismissal. The club's vocal emphasis on scientific education and credentialization represented a bid for female inclusion within an increasingly technically complex professional world. However, entrenched workplace sexism and union hostility to changing labor structures limited member opportunities. Ultimately, Desk and Derrick's middle-class aspirations allied the club with industry rebranding efforts and helped support industry automation and union-busting. Desk and Derrick valorized industry engineers and scientific professionals, spreading narratives of prosperity through technology that coincided with industry-wide efforts to repair oil companies’ reputations as greedy, wasteful, and exploitative. In turn, midcentury oil companies promoted Desk and Derrick as a convenient, grassroots way to spread their message.

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