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Guide to the Robert E. Lee papers, 1749-1975

Abstract

Robert E. Lee was a Virginia-born career military officer, Confederate general in the U.S. Civil War, and president of what is now Washington and Lee University.

Family and military correspondence of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), Confederate general-in-chief; and of his descendants; and a few letters of Francis Lightfoot Lee, Richard Henry Lee, Henry Lee, and Mary Ann Randolph (Custis) Lee. The letters deal with many phases of Robert E. Lee's life from his marriage in 1832 until his death, including family and personal affairs, especially in his letters to a cousin, Mrs. Anna M. Fitzhugh; settlement of the Custis estate; and improvements at the family house in Arlington, Virginia. Included also is one volume of 295 telegram dispatches sent by Robert E. Lee from the field to Jefferson Davis and the Confederate War Department; two scrapbooks memorializing Robert E. Lee; a small notebook in Robert E. Lee's hand, 1857-1860, containing amounts of meat purchased for the Arlington household; and a letterpress book of Robert E. Lee III, a lawyer of Washington, D.C.

Descriptive Summary

Title
Robert E. Lee papers 1749-1975
Creator
Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870.
Language of Material
English
Extent
3.0 Linear Feet, 204 Items
Repository
Duke University. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library Durham, North Carolina 27708-0185
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Family and military correspondence of Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), Confederate general-in-chief; and of his descendants; and a few letters of Francis Lightfoot Lee, Richard Henry Lee, Henry Lee, and Mary Ann Randolph (Custis) Lee. The letters deal with many phases of Robert E. Lee's life from his marriage in 1832 until his death, including family and personal affairs, especially in his letters to a cousin, Mrs. Anna M. Fitzhugh; settlement of the Custis estate; and improvements at the family house in Arlington, Virginia. During the Civil War the correspondence consists of official and family letters, the former containing much information on military activities. The postwar letters reveal details of domestic arrangements following the family's removal to Lexington, Virginia.

One volume contains 295 telegrams (collected and arranged by C.C. Jones, Jr., and published by D.S. Freeman, Lee's Dispatches, New York, 1915) sent by Lee from the field to Jefferson Davis and the Confederate War Department, many having been endorsed by James A. Seddon. These dispatches relate to troop movements, reports of the intelligence service, skirmishes, enemy activities, transportation of prisoners and wounded men, and other details of military operations. Included also are two scrapbooks memorializing Robert E. Lee, chiefly consisting of clippings and engravings; a small notebook in Robert E. Lee's hand, 1857-1860, containing amounts of meat purchased for the Arlington household; and a letterpress book of Robert E. Lee III, a lawyer of Washington, D.C.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

None

Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, 1769-1923 and undated
(4 folders)
Box 1
Military papers, 1860-1866 and undated
Box 2
Clippings, 1864-1975
Box 2
Printed materials, 1928-1955 and undated
Box 2
Other materials, 1749-1887

Includes a small notebook in Robert E. Lee's hand, 1857-1860; a message from Thomas Lee of Williamsburg, Virginia to the House of Burgesses, 1749; and a copy of Robert E. Lee's last will and testament.

Box 2
Use copies of correspondence

Includes use copies of all materials in Box 1.

Box 3
Robert E. Lee, III, letterpress book, 1892-1903
(452 pp.)
Box 4
Volume: Official Telegrams of General Robert E. Lee, 1862-1865

Consists of 295 telegrams bound into one volume.

Box 5
Lee Memorial scrapbook, Vol. 1

Scrapbook chiefly contains newspaper clippings and has bookplate of Charles C. Jones, Jr., Augusta, Georgia

(244 pp.)
Box 6
Lee Memorial scrapbook, Vol. 2

Scrapbook chiefly contains engravings of Lee and newspaper clippings; has bookplate of Charles C. Jones, Jr., Augusta, Georgia

(215 pp.)
Box 7
Land grant signed by Henry Lee, 1793

Land grant, signed by Gov. Henry Lee of Virginia, for a parcel of land in Montgomery County given to Alexander Stewart near the headwaters of Island Creek and commonly known as "Three Forks."

Oversize Folder 1

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Robert E. Lee Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Processing Information

Processed by Rubenstein Library staff

Encoded by Alvin Pollock and Stephen D. Miller, 1997

Materials received conservation treatment and rehousing in 2013.

Updated by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, 2014

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.