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 »


Henry G. Symonds
Portrait of Henry Gardiner Symonds. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Tenneco Logo
Tenneco Logo. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Henry G. Symonds
Symonds on a plane in 1951. Courtesy of Bernard Hoffman/Getty Images. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

SYMONDS, HENRY GARDINER (1903–1971). Henry Gardiner Symonds, corporation executive, was born on October 15, 1903, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Nathaniel G. and Amy Irene (Millberry) Symonds. He was reared in Chicago and received a B.A. degree in geology from Stanford University in 1924 and an M.A. degree in business administration from Harvard in 1927. His business career began with the Illinois Merchants Trust Company, but by 1930 Symonds had joined the Chicago Corporation as assistant treasurer; he became vice president before moving to Corpus Christi in 1938 to manage the corporation's oil and gas interests there. In 1943 he became president of the newly established Tennessee Gas Transmission Company (renamed Tenneco in 1966) in Houston. This company, formed to move gas by pipeline from Texas to the northeastern United States during World War II, grew in the following years under Symonds's leadership to become an industrial complex of diversified interests reporting assets of over $4 billion in 1970. Major operations of the company in addition to oil and gas included chemicals, packaging, agriculture, and land development. In 1968 Symonds retired as chief executive officer of the company but remained chairman of the board. He was involved in numerous subsidiaries of Tenneco and other companies and was a board member or an officer of at least a dozen companies and corporations, including General Telephone and Electronics Corporation, Packaging Corporation of America, Carrier Corporation, Philadelphia Life Insurance Company, Southern Pacific Company of San Francisco, and several South American oil companies. He served on the boards of Texas A&M University, the University of Houston, and Rice University. Symonds was counselor to the Stanford Research Institute, vice chairman of the National Industrial Conference, a member of the Business Advisory Council of the United States Department of Commerce, and a member of numerous professional and civic organizations. He held an honorary doctor of laws degree from Pepperdine College. He was an Episcopalian. Symonds was married to Margaret Clover on August 11, 1928, and they had five children. He died on June 1, 1971, in Houston and was buried in Oakbrook, Illinois. In 1971 the Tenneco Foundation endowed a $600,000 professorship at Rice University in honor of H. Gardiner Symonds.


Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Who's Who in America, 1960–61.

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, "SYMONDS, HENRY GARDINER," accessed May 29, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsy03.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on July 11, 2017. 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...