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Tenneco Energy History Records

Identifier: 2016-005

Records in this collection of Tenneco history include three major areas of interest. One group consists of management and planning records created by executives of Tenneco. The second group reflects a joint effort to write the history of Tenneco, Built from Scratch. Draft manuscripts, publication costs, and a Tenneco management reunion reflect the concerted effort to document the company’s history. A third group contains in-house publications reflecting Tenneco’s business accomplishments and publications from a variety of sources that constitute energy industry profiles. A small group of ephemera includes a vinyl record album, photographs, and maps.


  • 1946-2014
  • Majority of material found within 1974-1988


Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian. Reproduction decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis.


16.0 linear feet

Historical Information

Tennessee Gas (later Tenneco) and its Tennessee pipeline were elements of one of the largest diversified companies in the world. Wade Thompson founded Tenneco Gas shortly after the discovery of natural gas in 1933 in Macon County, Tennessee. In 1943 Henry Gardiner Symonds became the first president of the newly established Tennessee Gas Transmission Company (renamed Tenneco in 1966) in Houston.

A significant aspect of this collection of Tenneco records is the management and planning documents, notes, and speeches accumulated by Joe B. Foster, who held positions with Tenneco for thirty-one years. Among his roles with Tenneco, Foster served as chairman of Tenneco Oil Company, executive vice president of Tenneco Inc., and chairman of Tenneco Gas Pipeline Group. Foster left Tenneco in 1988

Foster graduated from Texas A&M University in 1957 with a B.S. in petroleum engineering and B.B.A. in business administration; he joined Tenneco as a junior petroleum engineer in Oklahoma City the same year. In 1968, Foster became Chief of Planning and Economic Analysis for Tenneco Oil Exploration and Production in Houston and assumed the role of president of Tenneco Oil in 1978. When the Tenneco board divested Tenneco Oil in 1988, Foster retired and founded the Newfield Exploration Company, serving as its chief executive officer until 2000.

Foster’s personal notes, speeches, presentations, and his contributions to the development of a history of Tenneco reveal his keen interest in planning and his personal ruminations on the processes of management. His speech development notes and collected sources and the subsequent speeches Foster delivered to Tenneco management groups, professional conferences, and non-profit gatherings offer insight into multiple responsibilities of leadership.

Custodial History

The Tenneco Energy History Records were acquired for the University of Houston Libraries in partnership with the Houston History Archives initiative of the UH Center for Public History.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Gary Cheatham on January 12, 2016.



Guide to the Tenneco Energy History Records
Elias Fernandez
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections Repository

University of Houston Libraries Special Collections
MD Anderson Library
4333 University Drive
Houston TX 77204-2000 USA