Travis Audubon Society Records
An Inventory of the Collection
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.
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.
Open to all users
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.
Travis Audubon Society Records (AR.Q.005). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1996/001
Donation Date:1996, 2002, 2003, 2005
Donor #: DO/1979/054
Collection inventoried by Ruth Baker in 2000. Finding aid created and encoded by Molly Hults in 2017.
Detailed Description of the Collection