"I Remain" - A Digital Archive of Letters, Manuscripts, and Ephemera
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[Letter] 1832 August 14 [to] Dearest Niece [Mrs. M.C. Lee] / [Aunt of Mary Custis Lee].

Title: [Letter] 1832 August 14 [to] Dearest Niece [Mrs. M.C. Lee] / [Aunt of Mary Custis Lee].
Personal Author: [Aunt of Mary Custis Lee].
Date: 1832 August 14.
Extent: [1] leaf.
General Note: The letter is an example of a "crossed" letter, meaning that it was written in one direction, rotated, and then written cross-wise to save paper. Sometimes the respondents would write across the original letter and send it back. See also a letter in the collection from Robert E. Lee to his children.
Abstract: Lee's "Dear Old Aunt" writes to her on two topics: health and fashion. The Aunt urges Mary Ann to write to her mother, and discusses her health; she tells Mary about a bonnet with a border that's too full, and relates that she has just washed two frocks for her, alluding to two other women who are currently expecting, and at different stages of their confinement. The Aunt discusses cholera and its presence in New York, but not in Boston, and not to a great extent in Washington. She affirms that had she not had to look after Ned, it would be "my duty to go to you as well as my pleasure." She urges Mary Ann to stay healthy, avoid crabs and melons, not to bathe too much, and not to exert herself. She hopes and prays that "the father of all have you & Bob in his especial keeping." In the letter she also mentions her plans to go to Bath and take the waters, as well as her hope that Bob could get a furlough "to be with you." She also mentions Arlington, the estate of Mary Ann's father, George Washington Parke Custis, the grandson of Martha Washington. Mary Ann married Robert E. Lee in 1831 and accompanied him to his station: Old Point Comfort, Virginia where she received this letter. At the time she received this letter, she had probably just given birth or was going to give birth soon to her first son George Washington Custis Lee. She would go on to have seven children, to stand by her husband during his command of the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and ultimately to lose her home, Arlington, to the federal government for non-payment of taxes during the war; it became a federal cemetery.
Personal Subject: Lee, Mary Ann Randolph Custis, 1808-1873--Correspondence
Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870.
Subject: Cholera
Fashion--Social aspects
Lee, Robert E. (Robert Edward), 1807-1870--Homes and haunts--Virginia--Arlington County.
Geographical Subject: Arlington (Va.)
New York
Boston (Mass.)
Washington (D.C.).
Recipient: Lee, Mary Ann Randolph Custis, 1808-1873.
 

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