While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


William James Battle

SIMONDS, FREDERIC WILLIAM (1853–1941). Frederic William Simonds, geologist and teacher, was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, July 3, 1853, the son of Andrew Wait and Ellen R. (Cox) Simonds. About 1863 the family moved to Richmond, Indiana, and later to San Jose, California. From Indiana, Simonds went to Cornell University and received the degrees of B. S. in 1875 and M.S. in 1876. In 1879 he received a Ph.D. from the University of Syracuse. In 1893 he received an honorary D.S.C. degree at the University of Arkansas. He married Norma Anna Wood of Syracuse, New York, on August 21, 1877; they had three children. Simonds was instructor in geology and paleontology at Cornell, 1875–77, and professor of geology, zoology, and botany at the University of North Carolina, 1877–81. Health considerations sent him to California, where he taught for four years at San Jose High School. In 1880 he became special agent for the fourth census in the department of mineral statistics. From 1887 to 1890 he was professor of geology and biology at the University of Arkansas; from 1887 to 1892, assistant geologist in the Arkansas Geological Survey. In 1890 he joined the University of Texas faculty as associate professor of geology. He was made professor of geology in 1895 and held that position until his death in 1941. He was one of the earliest members of the Geological Society of America, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, president of the Texas Academy of Science (1899–1900), president of the Texas chapter of Sigma Xi (1915–16), and an honorary member of Phi Beta Kappa. Simonds was an inspiring teacher, notable for clearness in exposition and beauty of drawing. He could draw with both hands at the same time. His publications included numerous articles in scientific journals and works on the geology of Texas. He was a Mason and Episcopalian. He died at his home in Austin on March 27, 1941, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery.


Sam Hanna Acheson, Herbert P. Gambrell, Mary Carter Toomey, and Alex M. Acheson, Jr., Texian Who's Who, Vol. 1 (Dallas: Texian, 1937). Austin American, March 28, 1941. Carl John Eckhardt, One Hundred Faithful to the University of Texas at Austin (197-?). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Who Was Who in America, Vol. 2.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, William James Battle, "SIMONDS, FREDERIC WILLIAM," accessed July 08, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsi19.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on March 8, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...