The Women in Robert E. Lee’s Life: A Symposium

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Media Contact: Jim Schepmoes
804-493-8038 ext. 8119

For Immediate Release

STRATFORD, VA, (February 22, 2011) – In honor of Women’s History Month, Stratford Hall is hosting a special symposium on the women who impacted Robert E. Lee’s life. This groundbreaking symposium, to be held on March 19, 2011, will feature noted Lee biographer Elizabeth Brown Pryor; historian Nora Brooks; and historians Matt Penrod (Arlington House) and Frank Grizzard (Director of the Lee Family Digital Archive). The symposium promises fascinating insights into both the General and the women around him.

Robert E. Lee was only six years old when he saw his father, Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, for the last time. During Robert’s childhood and adolescence, his mother, Ann Carter Lee, managed the Lee household on her own. By age thirteen, Robert was the oldest male in his immediate family still living at home. Lee repeatedly assumed the role of caregiver to the chronically ill females in his family.

Lee worked and fought alongside men, but his friendship and sense of humor were more often shared with females. Throughout his life Robert E. Lee displayed a genuine affinity and respect for women. Although he was a faithful and solicitous husband, he maintained a close abut innocent correspondence with several younger women until his death. Mary Custis, recognizing Lee’s basic need for expressing his gentler side, often wrote to the same ladies.

Robert E. Lee’s humorous and flirtatious letters to these women present a stark contrast to how he was perceived by many outsiders as the cold, unapproachable “marble man.”

This program is being underwritten by the female descendants of Mildred Lee Francis, daughter of Charles Carter Lee (Robert E. Lee’s older brother) and Lucy Penn Taylor Lee.

Seating is limited. To register for this symposium (cost is $60 per person; $45 for Friends of Stratford cardholders – which includes a plantation buffet in the dining room), Please contact or leave a voicemail at 804-493-8038×7787 to RSVP. For more information, contact Jon Bachman at 804-493-8038 x1039. For a complete program schedule, visit