The “Frances C. Roberts: Her Life and Legacy” traveling exhibit will be making a stop at Athens State University’s Kares Library in January 2022. Dr. Frances Roberts (1916-2000) was an eminent historian of Alabama, lifelong educator, and historic preservation advocate. Born and raised in Gainesville, Alabama, she became the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in history at the University of Alabama before going on to become the first chair of UAH’s Department of History and the namesake of the university’s Roberts Hall.
Her 1956 dissertation, “Background and Formative Period in the Great Bend and Madison County,” was recently published by the University of Alabama Press in January 2020 as part of the Alabama Bicentennial. Her collection of personal papers is spread across at least three academic archives and offers researchers a treasure trove of information about Northern Alabama.
An avid supporter of local historic preservation, she along with Harvie Jones promoted saving the Weeden House and worked to establish Huntsville’s first historic districts. Roberts is a member of the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame, thanks in part to her efforts to help establish Huntsville’s Old Town and Twickenham historical districts, Huntsville’s Constitution Hall Village, the Huntsville Historical Society, and the Huntsville Preservation Society.
The exhibit will be on display from January 10 – 30, 2022 and will be free and open to the public during normal library hours.