The Lee Heritage Interpretive Plan is intended to maximize Stratford’s potential for telling the story of the Lee family and its importance to our Nation’s history over multiple generations in a new, visually compelling and chronological way. In addition, the Plan will chronicle the story of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association and the Fiske Kimball 1930-40’s Restoration of Stratford’s historic buildings. The guiding philosophy adopted by the Board of Directors of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association is to “depict the various periods of Lee family occupancy and the history of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association at Stratford as accurately as current scholarship, research, technology, and preservation will allow.”
The new Interpretive Plan will allow different sections of the house to emphasize distinct phases of both the Lee family history as well as the history of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association. The Plan builds on Stratford’s powerful documentation by allowing Thomas Lee’s and Philip Ludwell Lee’s probate inventories to accurately guide furnishing important sections of the house. The Plan focuses on four distinct periods of ownership.
Period 1 – Thomas Lee
The story begins in the Great Hall with the early history of the Lee family and Thomas Lee’s construction of his great country house, furnished to his 1758 inventory.
Period 2 – Philip Ludwell Lee
The Blue Room and the White Room will be furnished according to Philip Ludwell Lee’s inventory of 1776.
Period 3 – General Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee & Robert E. Lee
The Drawing Room and Upper Stairhall will reflect “Light Horse Harry” Lee’s neoclassical changes to the house in the 1780s and 1790s. In the absence of a specific inventory, they will be furnished based on period documents and inventories of comparable estates. The Chamber and Nursery will tell the story of the birth of Robert E. Lee on January 19, 1807.
Period 4 – Robert E. Lee Memorial Association
The Dining Room and Dining Room Closet will depict Fiske Kimball’s restoration of the rooms and their subsequent furnishing in the “Colonial Revival Style” and will tell the story of the establishment of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association.