Audray Bateman Randle
(1966-1989, Curator 1975-1989)
As second curator of the Austin History Center, Audray Bateman Randle dedicated herself to increasing the size and scope of the collections at the Center. In 1968, Katherine Drake Hart hired Audray to index newspapers for the Austin-Travis County collection at a wage of $1.25 an hour. As years passed, Audray gained more responsibilities and eventually became curator of the department upon Katherine Drake Hart's retirement. Audray's most significant contribution as curator was her vision for the future of the Austin History Center. She lead the transition of the Austin-Travis County Collection to the Austin History Center during the years of 1977 to 1983.
In 1977, the City of Austin was planning to open a new central public library at 800 Guadalupe, the current location of the John Henry Faulk Central Public Library. Seizing the opportunity to renovate the original Austin Public Library building at 810 Guadalupe, Audray Bateman Randle took her idea to the Director of the Austin Public Library, David Earl Holt. Supportive of Audray Bateman Randle’s vision for the Austin History Center, but unable to promise city funds for the renovation, Holt suggested Audray Bateman Randle find alternative means of fund-raising. Discouraged but driven, Audray Batman Randle took her vision of an Austin History Center to Sue Brandt McBee who had recently led an effort to restore the Paramount Theatre. Randle met with McBee and pitched her idea for the Austin History Center. After a long silence, Sue McBee said, “I loved that building as a child, and I’d hate to see anything happen to it!” Funds raised by the Austin History Center Association totaling $4.6 million dollars and the efforts of the Austin History Center staff, the Junior League of Austin, the Assistance League of Austin, and a community of donors enabled a newly renovated Austin History Center to open its doors in 1983.