UAH Archives, Special Collections, and Digital Initiatives

Frances Cabaniss Roberts Collection (Rescans)

Dublin Core


Frances Cabaniss Roberts Collection (Rescans)


Frances Cabaniss Roberts Collection (Rescans)


Dr. Frances Cabaniss Roberts was born December 19, 1916 in Gainesville, Alabama, a daughter of Richard H. and Mary (Watson) Roberts. She graduated from Livingston State College, earning her B.S. in 1937, and then the University of Alabama, earning her M.A. in 1940, then her PhD in 1956. Her 1940 M.A thesis was "An Experiment in Emancipation of Slaves by an Alabama Planter;" her 1956 PhD dissertation was "Background and Formative Period in the Great Bend and Madison County," 1956.

She began her professional career as a public school teacher first in Sumter County, Alabama and then in Huntsville, Alabama, 1937-1952. In Huntsville, Roberts taught history at Huntsville High School and then at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), where she was a vigorous participant in the formation of that University. (The Extension Center, then at West Huntsville High School, opened in January 1950.) From 1955 to 1956, she was the only full-time faculty member.

Dr. Roberts served in many roles at UAH: instructor 1953-1956; assistant professor, 1956-1959; associate professor, 1959-1961; professor of history beginning in 1961 until her retirement on August 31st, 1980. In 1988, Dr. Roberts was honored with the dedication of Roberts Recital Hall. The University System Trustees issued this statement concerning the special day: "Dr. Roberts was one of the founding faculty of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, established the University History Department, and was its first full-time history professor. She devoted 18 years to the public schools and 29 years of dedicated service to UAH and accepting only the highest scholarly standards and inspiring generations of students to expand their academic horizons."

The collection of Dr. Roberts’ papers reflects her total immersion in the education, social, religious, musical, and literary life of the community as she led by doing. Frances Cabaniss Roberts died November 5, 2000 at the age of 83, leaving a legacy of leadership and dedication to the community.

Collection Items

  • loc_robf_000341.pdf

    This pamphlet announces the opening of the Hotel Monte Sano on June 1, 1887 and lists the manager as "Mr. S.E. Bates." The first section of the pamphlet includes a brief history of Huntsville and a description of the city's amenities. The author extolls the health advantages of Huntsville as "most healthfully situated at the base of Monte Sano" and describes the city's lack of recent disease outbreaks. The second section of the pamphlet details the Hotel Monte Sano's furnishings and amenities. The author emphasizes the "healthful" environs of the mountain and the hotel and includes letters from Huntsville's "eminent physicians" as testimonials. The pamphlet includes illustrations of scenes from Huntsville and Monte Sano.
  • loc_robf_Weekly_Mercury_1896.jpg

    This is an image of page six of the Weekly Mercury from July 1896. W.L. Halsey and C.H. Halsey advertisements for their grocery stores are featured on this page. Other advertisements on this page include "C.C. Anderson Druggist", "W.R. Rison & Co. Bankers", "Sheffey & Dean", and "Herstein & Lowenthal, Proprietors."
  • loc_robf_tribune_19001129.pdf

    Published on Thanksgiving Day 1900, this issue of the Tribune includes stories, songs, and poetry; lists of dead Confederate soldiers from Huntsville and Madison Count; and coverage of the erection of the Confederate monument in downtown Huntsville. Much discussion is made as well of the "Lost Cause," a mythology that perpetuates the belief that the cause of the Confederate States was noble and just and denies that slavery played the central role in secession. Includes columns written by Virginia Clay-Clopton and John Tyler Morgan.
  • loc_robf_000339_000340.pdf

    Made for a size 32-inch bust, this nightgown pattern includes five pieces for the front, back, collar, sleeve, and sleeveband. The pattern does not include pieces for the yoke. The front of the pattern envelope lists the material required for each size, and the back describes garment construction. The pattern pieces are unprinted.
  • loc_robf_000337_000338.pdf

    Made for a size 34-inch bust, this house dress pattern includes pieces for "The Waist with Square Yoke and Standing or Rolling Collar, and the Five-Gored Skirt Joined to the Waist." The front of the pattern envelope lists all instructions for the construction of the garment as well as material required. The pattern pieces are unprinted.
  • loc_robf_000335_web.jpg
  • Frances Cabaniss Roberts_ Her Life and Legacy_default_599d46e8.mp4

    This virtual talk includes a lecture from Dr. Tom Reidy, editor of the 2020 edition of Frances Roberts' 1956 dissertation, with comments and moderation by UAH Head of Archives and Special Collections Reagan Grimsley and History Department Chair Stephen Waring. The talk was given as part of an Alabama Humanities Alliance grant, in partnership with the UAH M. Louis Salmon Library, the UAH Humanities Center, and the UAH History Department.
  • loc_robf_336web.pdf
  • loc_robf_000333_000334_web.jpg

    Folsom issued the proclamation on the same day that Roberts received an honorary doctorate from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The text of the proclamation commends Roberts' service to the university and the community, noting that "Dr. Roberts combined her job of teaching, research and service with a much broader sense of responsibility which led her to do above and beyond what she was asked."
  • loc_robf_000332_web.jpg

    The Weeden House is located at 300 Gates Avenue in downtown Huntsville. The house underwent restoration in the 1970s and is now a historic house museum and garden open to the public.

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