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Emma Dee Randle

Celebrated Monodramatic Entertainer

One of the Grayson College’s most gifted alumnae, Emma Dee Randle (1875–1930) moved to Whitewright at the age of fourteen so that she could attend Grayson College. There, with her mother’s keen encouragement, she studied “expression” with George Landrum, who was impressed with her talent. A portrait in the Whitewright Museum is believed to have been painted by Tom Everheart Randle in 1900, when Emma was attending Grayson College.

Against her father’s strict orders to stop “this nonsense,” Emma secretly continued studying expression for four years. Then, at the age of eighteen, she was selected to head the department of expression at Trinity University, Waxahachie, Texas. Subsequently, she studied for a year at Emerson College of Oratory in Boston, honing her skills at “reading.”

Beginning in 1905, Emma was engaged by the Dixie Lyceum Bureau of Dallas and Columbus, Mississippi, for performances in which she declaimed great works of literature (especially selections from Shakespeare and the Bible). Often she skillfully portrayed a variety of characters in a single evening, using extensive changes of costume and wigs.

Jefferson, Texas
July 26, 1907

The recital at the Assembly hall Tuesday night by Miss Emma Dee Ranele, monodramatic impersonator and reader, undfer the auspices of Ladies' Library Association was a rare treat to the audience. Miss Randle is an ideal entertainer and her reading and impersonation has never been excelled in this city.  This beautiful young lady is certainly an elocutionist of marked ability. her impersonation of the boy who stubbed his toe was very laughable as well as other humorous ones.  The reading of Enoch Arden was a beautiful piece of work, and Miss Kelly, who accompanied her on the Piano throughout the program evinced much skill and pathos in her playing.  We hope Miss Randle can be induced to give another date in the near future, as soon as the Library auditorium is completed.
Miss Randle while here was entertained by her friend, Mrs. Arch McKay.   (
The Library of Congress National Endowment for the Humanities)

September, 1919
Miss Ema Dee Randle grows more popular and more in demand in her home section, the South, each succeeding season.  One manager remarked recently he thought before long she would not need to go over more than one or two states for a full season.  Her popularity with managers, agents, and best of all, with the committees, coupled with her inexhaustive repertoire, makers her a perpetual return-dater.  She will spend February and March of the coming season in Alkahest territory. (
The Lyceum magazine, Volume 29; Page 25; 122 So. Michigan Ave.; Chicago)

September, 1919
"It's Our Greatest Lyceum Year"

In addition to the regular Affiliated list, the Alkahest will book in its territory May Peterson, New York Chamber Music Society, Helen Ware, Hettie Jane Dunaway, Emma Dee Randle, Henry Lawrence Southwick, Evelyn Bargelt, Dr. Len G. Broughton, Hon. Champ Clark, Prof. Charles Lane, Dr. S. R. Belk, Marvin Williams, John Temple Graves, Dr. Stephen S. Wise, Alkahest Artist Trio, Mary Adel Hays Co., Frances Ingram, Will Arthur Dietrick. (
The Lyceum magazine, Volume 29; Page 26; 122 So. Michigan Ave.; Chicago)

A great success for eighteen years, Emma Randle was almost always busy touring. She performed widely across Texas and later across the United States. She retained the family cottage in Whitewright, coming back from time to time to visit old friends, to rest, and to perform—always to sold-out houses. 


She is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Whitewright.

Biography & Career

Elaine Nall Bay
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