Our purpose is to preserve the history of the Permian Basin of West Texas and beyond. The membership area includes the counties of Andrews, Borden, Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Dawson, Ector, Gaines, Glasscock, Howard, Loving, Martin, Midland, Mitchell, Pecos, Regan, Reeves, Terrell, Upton, Ward, and Winkler. Originally, we also welcomed members from bordering counties — Coke, Irion, Jeff Davis, Schleicher, Scurry, Sterling, Tom Green, and Val Verde. In 1965 members voted to change the name of the organization by deleting the word Texas to allow membership inclusion of three counties in New Mexico — Eddy, Lea, and Chavez.
Permian Historical Society was organized in 1958 as The Texas Permian Historical Society. Early in 1973, Permian Historical Society transferred its Permian Archives of 10,000 items, a collection created by members since 1958, to The University of Texas of the Permian Basin. Headquarters for PHS were moved to the university as well. At the end of 1980, J. Conrad and Kathlyn Cosper Dunagan endowed PHS Fellowships by a gift of $100,000. Interest from the investments is used to provide support to UTPB graduate students working on theses in Permian Basin history.
Permian Historical Society meets each April and October. Spring meetings are held in Midland or Odessa. Fall meetings are sponsored by members from various counties around the basin. The public is invited to all regular meetings and new members are welcomed. The only requirements of membership are an interest in Permian Basin history and the payment of dues.