Edward Porter Henderson (1898-1992), was born in Columbus, Ohio. After serving in the United States Marine Corps during World War I, he received the B. S. and M. S. in Chemistry from the George Washington University. In 1920, he was appointed Assistant Chemist at the United States Geological Survey (USGS). In 1929, he transferred to the Smithsonian Institution (SI), as Assistant Curator of Physical and Chemical Geology in the Department of Geology of the United States National Museum (USNM), where he spent the rest of his career. In his early years at the USNM, he specialized in the analysis of ores and minerals, and made frequent field trips within the United States to collect ores and minerals for the USNM. He also assumed responsibility for the small collection of meteorites that had been amassed by his predecessor, George P. Merrill. In 1942, Henderson advanced to Associate Curator of Mineralogy and Petrology, and in 1964 to Curator of the Division of Meteorites.
In 1947, Henderson traveled to Japan with his fellow USNM Curator, William F. Foshag, at the request of General Douglas MacArthur. During their five month stay, they sorted and appraised Japanese gemstones recovered in Tokyo by the United States Army. The end of World War II also saw an increase in interest in meteorites, as the era of space exploration opened; thus Henderson's efforts became entirely focused on the collection and analysis of meteorites. He worked with amateur collectors, such as newsman Stuart H. Perry, in developing the national meteorite collection, and travelled to Europe, Russia, Asia and Australia in search of new specimens. Henderson was noted for his work on composition, classification and methods of analysis of meteorites. Henderson also supervised the exhibits modernization of the Mineral Hall, which reopened in 1957. He oversaw the renovation of chemical laboratory in the 1950s and was instrumental in acquiring an electron microprobe in 1963. After his retirement from the curatorship in 1965, he continued his work as honorary research associate until 1989. In 1970 he was awarded the Lawrence Smith Medal of the National Academy of Sciences for his contributions to the field of meteoritics.