Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Frankie Carter Randolph Papers, 1913-1983

Collection Summary

Creator: Randolph, Frankie Carter
Title: Frankie Carter Randolph Papers
Dates: 1913 -1983
Abstract: The papers of Frankie Carter Randolph (1894-1972), longtime leader of Texas liberal Democrats, include correspondence, documents, newsclippings, photographs, oral history interviews and other materials that chronicle her political activism in Texas during the 1950s and 1960s. Issues include the Poll Tax, labor law, African Americans, and social programs.
Identification: MS 372
Quantity: 3.5 lin. ft. (8 boxes)
Repository: Woodson Research Center Fondren LibraryRice University, Houston, TX

Biographical Note

Frankie Carter Randolph was born on January 25, 1894 in Barnum, Polk County, Texas and came from a wealthy family that had several business interests in lumber. The family moved a lot when Ms. Carter was an adolescent: first to Camden then to Houston. After finishing school in Houston, she spent time studying in Europe. In 1918, she married Robert D. Randolph, a pioneer air corps pilot turned prominent Houston banker. Throughout her life, Frankie Carter Randolph was an outspoken public figure and an active proponent of progressive social and political change of the day. One of the early founders of the Junior League in the 1920s, she played a prominent role in various organizations and charities including the League of Women Voters.

Her involvement in several social programs during the Depression initiated her into local, state and national political scenes. She supported Franklin D. Roosevelt during his presidential candidacy and volunteered for the Social Services Bureau. It was at this time that she was very vocal about her liberal views especially in her support of racial integration. She became an advocate for low-income groups and advocated public support for better housing conditions for the underprivileged. Despite her wealth and socialite status, Frankie Carter Randolph felt comfortable interacting with all people – rich or poor – and often donated money to causes that supported her progressive views. It is notable that she was the first white person in the community to join the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Later in her career (especially her work for the Adlai Stevenson’s presidential election campaign), she began to organize an opposition party the DOT (Democrats of Texas) to the SDEC (State Democrats), which at the time supported Republican Party candidates. Her political message was very simple: organize at the precinct level. She eventually attained significant political influence after gaining the position of National Democratic Committeewoman. She forged a powerful grassroots base that eventually brought victories to the party she supported in both the county and legislative elections in the late 1950s.

In the summer of 1954, Frankie Carter Randolph along with likeminded individuals met to discuss the creation of a new liberal news publication in Texas. After purchasing the State Observer, the newly acquired publication was renamed the Texas Observer. Besides providing a public medium to represent the underprivileged, the periodical examined social issues, current affairs in government, and politics in government. Frankie Randolph died September 5, 1972 in Houston and was buried in the Glenwood Cemetery.

Resources: The Handbook of Texas Online: http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/RR/Fra34.html.

Dugger, Ronnie. "Mrs. Randolph Remembered" in the Texas Observer, Vol. 75, No. 19, September 30, 1983.

Additional information about Frankie Carter Randolph also gathered from various published articles located in the repository's control folder.

Scope and Contents

The papers of Frankie Carter Randolph (1894-1972), longtime leader of Texas liberal Democrats, encompass a wide range of materials that represent her personal and political interests from her early life to her legacy (1921-1983). It includes family papers, correspondence and oral histories with various significant political figures, documents, newsclippings on a variety of social issues, and primary documents generated through her direct involvement in various committees, organizations and political events, including the Democratic National Committee, Democrats of Texas (DOT), Harris County Democrats, Texas Observer, Committee for Better Local Government, and others. The collection also contains a set of eight interviews recorded on audiocassette tape (ca. 1970) of Mrs. Randolph’s personal acquaintances.

In addition to diaries by Frankie Carter Randolph’s mother, Maude Carter, Frankie Carter’s own early diaries and scrapbook are included in the collection (Series I). The collection also contains obituaries from various publications as well as letters of condolences.



This collection is arranged in the following series:
Series I: Family papers, 1913 – 1971
Series II: Political Activism, 1921 – 1983
Series III: Texas Observer, 1954 – 1968
Series IV: Published materials, 1938 – 1982
Series V: Interviews: transcripts and sound recordings, 1970 - 1971, n.d.


Restrictions on Access

This material is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from the Frankie Carter Randolph Papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Randolph, Frankie Carter
Carter, Maude -- diaries
Holley, Porter Jackson
Randolph, Robert D. -- correspondence
Dugger, Ronnie -- interviews
Smith, J. Edwin -- interviews
Brood, Sue -- interviews
Cogburn, Ed -- interviews
Mosier, Bud -- interviews
Subjects (Organizations)
Democrats of Texas
Democratic Party (Texas)
Democratic Party (Harris County)
Harris County Democrats
Poll tax - Texas
African Americans - Texas - History
Campaign materials
Financial records
Oral histories

Related Material

Walter Gardner Hall Papers, 1923-1990 [MS 280]

Chandler Davidson Texas Politics research collection, 1967-1992 [MS 259]

Fagan Dickson Papers, 1950-1979 [MS 281]

Billie Carr Political Papers, 1968-1980 [MS 373]

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Frankie Carter Randolph Papers, 1858-1983, MS 372, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mollie Luhrs, Frankie Randolph's grand-daughter, 1983.

Detailed Description of the Collection


Series I: Family papers, 1913 – 1971

box folder
1 1 Carter, Frankie. Scrapbook from journey to France, 1913
2 Carter, Maude. Three personal diaries, 1920-1930
3 Carter, Maude. Two Personal diaries, 1921 & June 2-3, 1926
4 Holley, Porter Jackson. Autobiography (maternal grandfather of Frankie Carter), n.d.
5 Personal narratives of unknown persons, n.d.
6 Randolph, Robert D. Correspondence, 1969-1971
7 Randolph, Robert D. Naval Commissions and the Early Pioneer Naval
box folder
2 1 Randolph, Robert and Frankie. Financial Materials ca.
2 Scott, Louise Thompson (Aubrey Randolph's Mother-in-Law). Legal Papers Re: estate, 1975-80
3 Correspondence of Holley family, Carter family, and Randolph family, 1920-1972
4 Photographs of Frankie Carter Randolph, n.d. (ca. 1900s & ca. 1960s)
5 Photographs of unidentified persons, n.d. (ca. 1950s-70s)


Series II: Political Activism, 1921 - 1983

Subseries A: Political organizations, 1943-1980
box folder
2 6 African American Organizations and Political Info., 1963-80
7 American Red Cross, 1943-44
8 Committee for Better Local Government, 1962-63
9 Congressional Organization: 88th Congress, 1963-64
10 Democratic Coalition, 1963-64
11 Democratic National Convention, 1960
12 Democratic National Convention, 1964
13 Democratic Precinct Convention, Harris County : Minutes, precinct 2-40 (missing 6, 9, 10, 15, 23, 24, & 29), May 7, 1966
14 Democratic Precinct Convention, Harris County: Minutes, precinct 41-82 (missing 42, 48, 51, & 66), May 7, 1966
15 Democratic Precinct Convention, Harris County: Minutes, (precinct no. 86), May 2, 1964
box folder
3 1 Democratic Precinct Convention, Harris County: Minutes, precinct 84-119 (missing 107, 111, 112, & 66), May 7, 1966
2 Democratic Precinct Convention, Harris County: Minutes, precinct 122-150 (missing 141), May 7, 1966
3 Democrats of Texas, ca. 1958-62
4 Florida State Racing, Fingerprints of Frankie Carter Randolph
5 Harris County Committee for Better Government, 1960
6 Harris County Democrats, 1958-68
7 Harris County Jail Improvement Committee, 1963
8 Houston Council on Human Relations, 1963-66
9 Houston School Board, 1962, 1964
box folder
4 1 National Woman's Party, 1965
2 Political Association of Spanish-speaking Organizations (PASO), 1963
3 Precinct Materials, 1964-68
4 Texas Bill of Rights Foundation, 1962-63
5 Texas Democratic Women's State Committee, 1954 & 1967
Subseries B: Political platforms, 1963
box folder
4 6 Repeal of Poll Tax, 1963
7 Tax Research Association of Houston & Harris County, 1963
Subseries C: Political figures, 1959 – 1972
box folder
4 8 Senator Ralph W. Yarborough, 1959-72
Subseries D: Declamations/speeches, 1958 – 1965
Humphrey, Hubert, Excerpt from Address by the Senator, December 13,1958
Johnson, Lyndon. Presidential Address on Voting Rights, 1965
Kennedy, John F., Inauguration Address of the President, January 1961
Shock, James E., Request for a Fair Trial, 1962
Wilson, Will, Speech Given by Attorney General, 1962
Speeches (not made by Frankie Carter Randolph), n.d.
Subseries E: Public events, 1958 – 1965
Campaign Materials -- Primaries, 1962
Conference on Strengthening the New Politics, 1965
Materials from Democratic County Convention, 1958
Subseries F: Political movements, 1957 – 1962
Attempt to oust Frankie Carter Randolph, 1957-59
Reactionary Movements in Harris County: Freedom in Action, John Birch Society, etc., 1955-62
Subseries G: Correspondence, 1921 – 1972
Incoming Correspondence, 1921-1972
Outgoing Correspondence, 1959-68
Outgoing correspondence of other individuals, 1964
Subseries H: In memoriam
Letters, notes, & contribution announcements in memory of Frankie Carter Randolph, September-October, 1972
Frankie Carter Randolph Park, 1980 & 1983


Series III: Texas Observer, 1954 – 1968

Additional Subscription material, 1955-65
Board of Directors & Trustees materials, 1954-55
Correspondence and Financial Papers, 1954-1968
Financial Reports, 1962-1964
Financial: Receipts & Scraps, 1960-67
Publication materials (articles, correspondence printed in magazine), 1961-62
Subscription Related Correspondence, 1960-68
Subscription Report Forms, 1962-65
Vol. 55, no. 1-12, December 1962-May 1963
Vol. 55, no. 13-28, May 1963-December 1963
Vol. 56, no. 1-2; vol. 57, no. 1, 18, 21; vol. 60, no. 6, January 1964, January, September, & October 1965, March 1968


Series IV: Published materials, 1938 – 1982

Subseries A: Newsclippings, 1938 – 1975
Amendments, 1963
Family of Frankie Carter Randolph, 1938-55
Harris County, 1962-64
Issues concerning African Americans, 1963-66
Jail, 1963-64
Labor Organizations, 1963-64 & 1967
Mayor & Council, 1963-64
Metro Government, 1963
Politics (Democratic Party), 1956-57
Politics (Democratic Party), 1960-65, 1968 & 1975
Politics (Democratic Party), July-Dec 1959
Politics (Democratic Party), n.d.
Poll Tax, 1964
Ralph Yarborough, 1960
Randolph Frankie Carter 1956-72
Republicans, 1963-64 & 1968
Right Wing Extremists & John Birch Society, 1960-64
Ronnie Dugger, ca. 1971
Schools & Education, 1963
Sewage, 1962-63
United Nations, 1963
Yarborough, Don 1962-64
Subseries B: Published materials (e.g., articles, newsletters, bulletins),1957 – 1982
"The Liberals in Harris County & the 1960 Presidential Election" (Ann Staples, Political Science 333A), ca. 1983
Assorted news releases, brochures, newsletters, socio-demographic reports, scholarly articles, Congressional reports, book excerpts, transcripts, 1957-82
Democratic National Committee Publications, Democratic platform for 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964
League of Women Voters – Publications, 1962-64
Political Magazines & Newspapers, 1961, 1963
Senator Ralph W. Yarborough's Newsletters, 1961-65
The Democrat -- Vol. V, n. 14,19-24,1965
United Nations, 1959-63


Series V: Interviews: transcripts and sound recordings, 1970 - 1971, n.d.

Subseries A: Transcripts, ca. 1970
Transcripts of taped interviews, Ronnie Dugger 1971, Bud Mosier (n.d.)
Index of tapes of interviews with Mrs. Adams (n.d.), E. Ball (1970), Mrs. Sue Brood [?] (1970), Ed Cogburn (1970), Ronnie Dugger (1970), Bud Mosier (1970), Mr. Randolph (n. d.), J. Edwin Smith (1970)
Subseries B: Interviews: audio cassettes, ca. 1970
Adams, Mrs (n.d.)
Ball, Mrs. E. (1970)
Brood, Sue (1970)
Cogburn, Ed (September 22, 1970)
Dugger, Ronnie, May 13, 1970
Mosier, Bud (1970)
Randolph, Mr. (n. d.), Mother, Molly Fran [?] (1970)
Smith, J. Edwin (1970)