Van Zandt, Edmund Pendleton, Jr. (1916–1972)

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: April 15, 2022

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.

  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Dramatists and Novelists
  • Fiction
  • Oil and Gas Industry
  • Journalism
  • Authors and Writers
  • Historians
  • Oil Entrepreneurs and Wildcatters
Time Periods:
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Fort Worth
  • North Texas

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

Anonymous, “Van Zandt, Edmund Pendleton, Jr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 15, 2022

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