Austin History Center

Travis Audubon Society Records

An Inventory of the Collection

Collection Summary

Creator: Travis Audubon Society
Title: Travis Audubon Society Records
Dates: 1952-2002
Dates (Bulk): 1952-1978
Abstract: The Travis Audubon Society is the Travis County, Texas chapter of the National Audubon Society that was founded in 1952 to promote birding and the conservation of wildlife habitat. The meeting minutes, sanctuary and trail planning materials, yearbooks, photographs and scrapbooks in this collection highlight the activities of the organization from 1952 through the mid-1980s.
Accession number: AR.Q.005
Quantity: 3.9 linear feet (2 boxes and 4 oversize scrapbooks)
Location: Archives stacks, oversize volumes
Language: English
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,
810 Guadalupe, PO Box 2287, Austin, TX 78768

Administrative History

The Travis Audubon Society (TAS) began as an informal meeting in 1951 in the home of Magnolia Green to explore the idea of starting a local branch of the National Audubon Society. The group met with a representative of the national organization in early 1952 and then with the director of the Austin Park and Recreation Department, Beverly Sheffield. On March 18, 1952 the group had its first official meeting and would go on to register with the Texas Secretary of State's Office in 1955. The organization started a newsletter, the Signal Smoke, almost immediately. Conservation education was a major goal of the group and they began sponsoring "Audubon Screen Tours", the popular film series by the National Audubon Society, beginning in 1952. The group also stated from the outset that they wanted to purchase land to create a sanctuary and in 1966, TAS purchased a 94-acre tract in northern Cedar Park that was a habitat for the golden-cheeked warbler. This land would eventually be known as the Baker Sanctuary and has grown to 715 acres through donations and further purchases. The organization also arranged field trips and other educational events for children and adults, were vocal in supporting legislation to protect wildlife and land conservation and opposing development that threatened wildlife habitat and, starting in 1954, led the count of birds in the Austin area and complied a regional bird checklist. Then and now, Travis Audubon (as they are known as now) promotes the enjoyment, understanding, and conservation of native birds and their habitats through land conservation, habitat restoration and management, environmental education and conservation advocacy.

Scope and Contents

The Travis Audubon Society Records include administrative records, programing materials and scrapbooks that document the activities of the organization from its formation in 1952 until the late 1970s. A significant portion of the records consist of meeting minutes of the Travis Audubon Society (TAS) beginning with the March 18, 1952 meeting, the first official meeting of the organization in which it was discussed the reasons why the group should affiliate with the National Audubon Society; where and how often the group should meet; and appointing a committee to create a constitution. Subsequent meeting minutes are for both the general group meetings and, starting in 1955, the meeting minutes of the Board of Directors dating through 1968. Documented are Audubon Society films previewed during meetings, public programing in conjunction with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department and Austin Independent School District; treasurer's reports; goals for the year such as creating trail guides and checklists for birds of Travis County; organization of field trips; decisions to advocate or oppose national, state or local legislation regarding wildlife preservation; negotiations for the purchase of 94 acres in northeast Travis County in 1966 which was the first section of what would become the 715-acre Baker Sanctuary. In addition there are materials concerning sanctuary and trail planning, yearbooks dating from 1953 to 1986, magazine clippings of bird photographs and Audubon Screen Tour/Audubon Wildlife Film covers.

The Travis Audubon Society maintained two types of scrapbooks, "Newspaper Columns" written by TAS members and "Historical Scrapbooks". The two "Newspaper Columns" scrapbooks span the dates 1958 to 1978 and include the columns "Nature Trails" and "Bird World" that were published in the Austin American-Statesman. The "Historical Scrapbooks" span the dates 1952-1978 and contain correspondence sent to members regarding TAS business and events and correspondence from the national organization, National Wildlife Federation stickers, press releases from TAS, meeting notices, newspaper clippings regarding work accomplished by TAS or causes of interest to the organization, certificates of recognition for TAS's contributions to Austin/Travis County, copies of legislation regarding wildlife, guide booklets produced by TAS, general meeting programs, membership lists and a few color and black & white photographs of wildlife and members.

Also included are 34 black-and-white photographs of wildlife, predominately birds. Twenty-seven of the photographs are from the National Audubon Society and the Texas Game and Fish Commission and depict a variety of birds and other wildlife. The remaining photographs were reportedly taken by a TAS member around 1956 and include baby red tail hawks and a Cooper's hawk in Dripping Springs, Texas. A set of photographic negatives that capture outdoor scenes of people sitting near a small river were found in the 1952-1976 historical scrapbook and added as photos #035-045.


Access Restrictions

Open to all users

Use Restrictions

The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Green, Magnolia N.
Davis, Bradley.
Sheffield, Beverly.
Smith, Wilbur A.
Dawson, E. T.
Subjects (Organizations)
Austin (Tex.). Parks and Recreation Department.
Travis Audubon Society.
Birding sites--Texas--Austin.
Birds--Texas-Travis County.
Botany--Texas--Travis County.
Nature trails--Texas--Travis County.
Nature conservation.
Habitat conservation--Texas--Austin region.
Endangered species--Texas--Austin.
Wildlife refuges--Texas--Travis County.
Bird watching.
Travis County (Tex.)--Environmental conditions.
Baker Sanctuary (Travis County, Tex.).
Document Types
Administrative records.
Black-and-white negatives.
Black-and-white photographs.
Color photographs.
Membership lists.

Related Material

General Collection

  • A 582.1509764 LY Lynch, Daniel, Native & Naturalized Woody Plants of Austin & the Hill Country . 1981.
  • 598.29764 Ku Kutac, Edward A., A Bird Finding and Naturalist's Guide for the Austin, Texas, Area. 1976.

Separated Material

General Collection

  • A 598.060764 FI Travis Audubon Society, Field Checklist: Birds of Austin, Texas and Vicinity. 1972.
  • A 581.976431 Tr Travis Audubon Society, Audubon Nature Trail Guide Booklet.
  • A 581.976431 Tr Travis Audubon Society, Sanctuary Trail Guide. 1983.
  • A 598.0976431 CH Travis Audubon Society, Checklist and Seasonal Distribution: Birds of the Austin, Texas Region. .
  • A 598.07234 GU Texas Parks and Wildlife, The Guide to Austin-area Birding Sites: Good Places to See Birds in and Around Austin. 2000.


  • Signal Smoke (Travis Audubon Society newsletter) - 1952-2012

Austin Files

  • AF Subject - Birds B3410
  • AF Subject - Travis Audubon Society T7950

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Travis Audubon Society Records (AR.Q.005). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1996/001

Donation Date:1996, 2002, 2003, 2005

Donor #: DO/1979/054

Donation Date:1979

Processing Information

Collection inventoried by Ruth Baker in 2000. Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults in 2017.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Travis Audubon Society Records, 1952-2002

Box Folder
1 1 Constitution and bylaws, 1954-1965, undated
2-8 Meeting minute for general meetings and Board of Directors, 1952-1968
9 Policy on pesticides, 1963
10 TAS Historian - information on job duties, 1974
11 Golden-cheeked warbler emblems, undated
12 Field checklist - Birds of Austin, Texas and Vicinity, 1972
13 50th Anniversary Celebration program, 2002
14 National Audubon Society meeting program, 1966
15 Sanctuary and trail planning, 1965, undated
16 Graphs of golden-cheecked warbler , undated
17 Clippings of bird photographs, undated
Box Folder
2 1 Audubon Screen Tour/Audubon Wildlife Film covers, circa 1960s
2 Wildlife photographs (#001-034), 1956, undated
3-4 Yearbooks, 1953-1986
Location ArchivesCollection
Outer Vault B&W Neg. Drawer Outdoor photography (#035-045), undated
Oversize Volumes Newspaper column written by TAS members, 1958-1975
Newspaper column written by TAS members, 1975-1978
"Historical Scrapbook", 1952-1976
"Historical Scrapbook", 1975-1978