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MS Am 811-811.7

Lee, Arthur, 1740-1792. Arthur Lee papers, 1741-1882: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b, pf
Call No.: MS Am 811-811.7
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Lee, Arthur, 1740-1792.
Title: Arthur Lee papers,
Date(s): 1741-1882,
Date(s): 1766-1787 (bulk).
Quantity: 1 collection (4.5 linear feet (12 boxes and 1 folder).)
Language of materials: Materials in English and French.
Abstract: Correspondence and other documents of the American politician and diplomat Arthur Lee.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

No accession number. Gift of Richard Henry Lee; received: 1827.

Processing Information:

Reformatted by Bonnie B. Salt, 2015.

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Conditions Governing Use:

Images linked to this finding aid are intended for public access and educational use. This material is owned and/or held by the Houghton Library, and is provided solely for the purpose of teaching or individual research. Any other use, including commercial reuse, mounting on other systems, or other forms of redistribution requires the permission of the curator.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Arthur Lee Papers, 1741-1882 (MS Am 811-811.7). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Lee was an American diplomat, politician, and political writer. He, along with Silas Deane and Benjamin Franklin, was appointed Commissioner to France by the Continental Congress (1776) in order to negotiate a treaty and solicit aid. Lee also sought aid in Spain and Germany and served in the Virginia House of Delegates and the Continental Congress (1781-1784).


See also: Calendar of the Arthur Lee Manuscripts in the Library of Harvard University. Cambridge, Mass.: University Press, John Winsor and Son, 1882.


Arranged in call-number order: Please note that item numbers 238-239 were inadvertently omitted from this finding aid.

Scope and Contents

Collection reflects American diplomatic, political, and military affairs primarily during the American Revolution. The bulk is correspondence, mostly letters to Lee, but the collection also contains depositions and petitions concerning colonial disputes and the fighting in Lexington and Concord; resolutions; statements and testimonies on the condition of prisoners and the confiscation of ships; drafts and plans of treaties; addresses on the barbarity of the enemy and other subjects; army orders; manuscripts including a report on American commerce, Lee's memoirs of the American Revolution, and notes on politics and war; memos, accounts, promissory notes, and receipts pertaining to diplomatic and war expenses; and legal documents including Lee's will. Includes instructions from the Continental Congress on making a treaty with France and later, with the Indians of North America. Some official documents are copies.

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