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 »


VAN ZANDT, EDMUND PENDLETON, JR. (1916–1972). Edmund Pendleton Van Zandt, Jr. [pseud. Tom Pendleton], oil producer and writer, was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 30, 1916, the son of Ethel (Young) and Edmund Pendleton Van Zandt. He attended the old Preston High School and Texas Christian University and was graduated from the University of Texas. In 1949 he was an honor graduate of Southern Methodist University Law School, where he was editor in chief of the SMU law review. He entered military service in 1942 and, as a captain in the United States Marine Corps, served as an overseas intelligence officer in the Pacific Marine Air Wing and later as secretary of the Naval Air Mission in Lima, Peru. Van Zandt worked for oil companies in various jobs, as roustabout, oil scout, and foreign oil concession negotiator in Venezuela and London. He returned to the United States in 1962 to become assistant to the president of the General American Oil Company of Texas at Dallas. In 1963 he joined the Fort Worth National Bank. In 1952 Collier's magazine bought Van Zandt's two-part fiction serial, "Deep Test." Under the nom de plume Tom Pendleton he wrote The Iron Orchard, the story of a typical oil career blended with social satire. It won the Texas Institute of Letters fiction award in 1966 jointly with Larry McMurtry's The Last Picture Show. Hodak, a novel set in South America, was published in 1969, and Seventh Girl was published in 1970. Van Zandt was married to Durelle Alexander, and they were the parents of three children. He died in Fort Worth on July 22, 1972.

Dallas Morning News, November 20, 1966, March 27, 1969. Fort Worth Star-Telegram, September 7, 1952, July 22, 1972. Houston Chronicle, December 4, 1966. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

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, "VAN ZANDT, EDMUND PENDLETON, JR.," accessed May 27, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fva11.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. 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...