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Frankie Carter Randolph papers

Identifier: MS 0372
Finding aid note: Stored offsite at the Library Service Center and require 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

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.


  • Creation: 1913 - 1983


Restrictions on Access

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored offsite at the Library Service Center and require 24-hour notice for retrieval. Please contact the Woodson Research Center at 713-348-2586 or for more information.

Restrictions on Use

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

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:

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.


3.5 Linear Feet (8 boxes)

Language of Materials



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.

Acquisition Information

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

Related Materials

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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]

Guide to the Frankie Carter Randolph Papers, 1913-1983
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas Repository

Fondren Library MS-44, Rice University
6100 Main St.
Houston Texas 77005 USA