Roberts, Annie Lee Warren (1895–1990)

By: Melanie A. Roberts

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1995

Updated: June 12, 2018

Annie Lee Warren Roberts, philanthropist and historical preservationist, was born in Terrell, Texas, in 1895, the only child of Annie (Cartwright) and state Senator Robert Lee Warren. Following graduation from high school in Terrell, Annie Lee attended Gunston Hall Women's College in Washington, D.C., and Monticello College in Geoffrey, Illinois. On May 15, 1920, she married Terrell native Summerfield G. Roberts, a fifth-generation Texan who was just beginning a business career in Dallas. As the couple prospered financially through his banking, oil, and real estate dealings, they jointly pursued interests that improved the cultural, social, and literary life of Dallas and Texas. Mrs. Roberts worked diligently to improve the plight of homeless pets and captive wildlife as well as to protect the animals in the wild. In 1984 she was a recipient of the Founders medal for extraordinary service to animals. In 1988, in association with the Animal Protection Institute and United Animal Nations-USA, she founded the Annie Lee Roberts Emergency Animal Rescue Service fund. She received the award for excellence for extraordinary achievement in animal rescue in 1988 and was the recipient of the animal philanthropist of the year award from the Animal Protection Institute in 1989. Her civic memberships included Daughters of the American Revolution, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and the Dallas Garden Club. Preserving Texas history was an ardent interest she shared with her husband; in 1948 they established, through the Sons of the Republic of Texas, the Summerfield G. Roberts Award for the best work of history on early Texas. For her role in the creation of this monetary award, Mrs. Roberts subsequently was elected an honorary member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas. She and her husband also were responsible for numerous artistic and literary gifts to the Hall of State in Dallas and the State Library and Archives Building in Austin. Later in her life, following the death of her husband in 1970, she established the Summerlee Foundation to provide funding for the protection of animals and the study and preservation of Texas history. In its efforts to preserve the state's history, the foundation underwrote the work of the Summerlee Commission, which in 1991 completed a comprehensive study of the status of teaching, studying and preserving Texas history. Annie Lee Warren Roberts died at her Dallas home on April 22, 1990, at the age of ninety-four, and was buried in Hillcrest Mausoleum in Dallas. She and her husband had no children.

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Dallas Morning News, April 24, 1990. Dallas Times Herald, April 24, 1990. Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Southwestern Collection, January 1991.

  • Women
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists
  • Preservationists
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Melanie A. Roberts, “Roberts, Annie Lee Warren,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 19, 2022,

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December 1, 1995
June 12, 2018

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