Search Finding Aid
A Guide to the Papers of R. E. Lee and Son, Inc., 1935-1962 R. E. Lee and Son Inc., Papers of, 1935-1962 7615,-a,-b

A Guide to the Papers of R. E. Lee and Son, Inc., 1935-1962

A Collection in
The Special Collections Department
Accession Number 7615,-a,-b


[logo]

Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4110
USA
Phone: (434) 243-1776
Fax: (434) 924-4968
Reference Request Form: https://small.lib.virginia.edu/reference-request/
URL: http://small.library.virginia.edu/

© 2002 By the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. All rights reserved.

Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Special Collections Department

Repository
Special Collections, University of Virginia Library
Accession number
7615,-a,-b
Title
Papers of R. E. Lee and Son, Inc., 1935-1962
Physical Characteristics
This collection contains ca. 10,000 items (24 Hollinger boxes, ca. 10 linear shelf feet).
Language
English
Abstract
The collection contains business correspondence, cost estimates, subcontracts, labor cost reports, employment applications, accounts and invoices, and materials lists pertaining to the construction, reconstruction or renovation of private and historic residences, churches, commercial and industrial buildings, and schools, chiefly in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Va.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

See the University of Virginia Library’s use policy.

Preferred Citation

Papers of R. E. Lee and Son, Inc., Accession # 7615,-a,-b, Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Acquisition Information

These papers were given to the library by R.E. Lee, Jr. on July 7, 1964, August 5, 1964, and January 26, 1965.


Biographical/Historical Information

Over the years, the company has been characterized by steady growth from the construction of private residences in Charlottesville and surrounding areas to commercial, industrial and institutional building throughout the state of Virginia. Prior to 1950, the company's main emphasis was on building custom homes for individuals. In the late 1950's, the company expanded from building private residences to include some commercial construction. The firm began to concentrate almost exclusively on commercial contracts in the 1960's. In the 1970's, the company began to compete for institutional and industrial contracts as well. Today, R.E. Lee and Sons has branch offices in Hampton and Fairfax, Virginia, and employs over 300 people. The company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1989.

The third generation representative of this family owned business, Robert Erwin Lee, Jr. (Robin) is now treasurer of the company. Robin Lee (1940- ) graduated from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business in 1964 with a Master's degree in Business Administration.

R.E. Lee and Sons has been involved with many important projects in the area in addition to those included in this collection. In 1976, the company renovated the interior of the Rotunda and won the "Build America Award" for most outstanding construction project in the U.S. by the Association of General Contractors and Motorola Corporation. Projects at the University of Virginia include Clemons Library, the Law School, the Graduate School of Business, the Drama Building, the Schools of Education, Engineering and Nursing, Wilson Hall, Newcomb Hall, Thornton Hall and Monroe Hall as well as Lambeth, Copeley and Married Student Housing projects and the Scott Stadium expansion.

In addition, R.E. Lee and Sons is responsible for many of the hotels, shopping centers, schools, health care facilities and other commercial buildings in the Charlottesville area as well as in Richmond, Alexandria, Fairfax, Newport News, Fredricksburg, Williamsburg and Roanoke, and elsewhere in the state.

Scope and Content Information

This collection consists of ca. 10,000 items (24 Hollinger boxes, ca. 10 linear shelf feet), 1935-1962, the business papers of R.E. Lee and Son, Inc., one of the oldest construction firms in Virginia which originated in Charlottesville. The business was co-founded in 1939 by Robert Edward Lee, a mechanical engineer, and his son, Robert Erwin Lee. The Lees moved to Charlottesville in 1911. The younger Lee (1908-1978) attended Charlottesville High School and graduated from the University of Virginia School of Engineering in 1929 with a B.S. in civil engineering. He served as a major in the army corps of engineers in World War II, 1943-1945.

The papers in 7615 (1 box) consist primarily of correspondence between Lee and Fiske Kimball of Pennsylvania concerning the construction of his house, Bellevue, on Shack Mountain.

#7615-a (7 boxes) concerns the construction of several private residences between 1938 and 1962 in the Charlottesville area. Papers concerning these projects consists of bid solicitations, cost estimates, monthly accounts, some floor plans and building sketches and correspondence with sub-contractors such as the Virginia Steele Co. and Charlottesville Lumber Co. These papers are an excellent guide to the planning and construction of high quality homes.

Also in the collection are papers pertaining to the restoration and maintenance of some of the best known historical homes in Virginia including Monticello, Morven, Mt. Vernon and Shadwell.

R. E. Lee was contracted by the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation to handle the general maintainance and repairs of Monticello, designed and built by Thomas Jefferson. The house is one of the finest examples of neo-classical architecture in the country. R.E. Lee, mainly between 1938 and 1960, was responsible for the restoration of the Northwest wing of Monticello and surrounding buildings as well as the construction of an entrance building in 1952 and the gate house, completed in 1953. The firm was also responsible for periodic painting of the residence. The papers in this collection consist of correspondence with Milton L. Grigg, a Charlottesville architect, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, among others, and monthly accounts and invoices for purchases.

Morven was originally constructed in Albemarle County between 1808 and 1818 by its first two owners, ex-Revolutionary War colonel William Short and David Higgenbotham. Since its construction the property has changed hands many times. It was bought by Charles A. Stone of New York City ca. 1926, who undertook complete restoration of the property. Lee was contracted by Stone Farm Associates (ca.1939) to construct a swimming pool and make major alterations on the existing kitchen as well as other minor repairs and alterations during the twenty years he was in their employment.

The home and final resting place of George Washington, Mt. Vernon, located in Fairfax County on the banks of the Potomac, is considered by some to be the most notable mansion in the state. Lee was contracted by the Mt. Vernon Ladies' Association for approximately three years (1936-1939), during which time he completed the restoration of the stable, the George Washington Barn and the tomb of George Washington, as well as the ice and smoke houses. The company also reconstructed the power house and shops and built the superintendent's house. Some of the correspondence in these papers is with Ross Structural Iron Works of Richmond and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Lee undertook the total reconstruction of Shadwell, also known as the Peter Jefferson House, in 1958. The modest farmhouse, located three miles east of Charlottesville, was the birthplace of Thomas Jefferson and his home for much of his young life. The house burned down in 1770, but Peter Jefferson's sketches and notes survived and were used in the reconstruction. An intensive study of the site was conducted in 1955 by archeologist Roland W. Robbins. The project was sponsored by the Jefferson Birthplace Memorial Park Commission. Lee's papers concerning the project consist of cost estimates, materials lists, bids from subcontractors, running accounts and correspondence with Colonial Williamsburg regarding specially-made hardware orders.

The 7615-b series (16 boxes) contains papers concerning the construction of many private residences, churches, schools, businesses and banks in the Charlottesville and surrounding areas. Projects at the University of Virginia include work on Madison Hall, restoration of the steps to the Rotunda and its terrace, construction of the east stairs to Alderman Library and the construction of a building at the Law School.

Arrangement

This collection is divided into three series according to the accession number. Each series is arranged alphabetically by the name of the building or the last name of the residence's owner. In most cases, the original folder headings have been preserved. Material within each folder is arranged chronologically.

Contents List

Series I: Accession 7615
  • Box 1
    Lee-Kimball Correspondence 1935-1955, n.d.
    4 folders
Series II: Accession 7615-a
  • Box 1
    D. Farley Cox, Jr. Residence 1948-1950
    (3 folders)
  • Box 1
    Monticello: Correspondence 1938-1942
    (2 folders)
  • Box 2
    Monticello: Correspondence 1945-1953
    (7 folders)
  • Box 3
    Monticello: Correspondence 1954-1960
    (2 folders)
  • Box 3
    Monticello: Entrance Building 1949-1952
    (2 folders)
  • Box 3
    Monticello: Gate House 1952-1953
  • Box 3
    Monticello: Invoices 1953 May-Aug.
  • Box 4
    Monticello: Invoices 1953-1954
    (3 folders)
  • Box 4
    Morven 1939-1957
    (3 folders)
  • Box 4
    Mt. Vernon 1936-1939
    (2 folders)
  • Box 5
    Shadwell: Correspondence 1958-1962
    (2 folders)
  • Box 5
    Shadwell: Invoices 1959-1960
    (2 folders)
  • Box 5
    Henry J. Taylor Residence, "Ivywood" 1954-1962
  • Edwin M. Watson Residence 1938-1939 July
    (2 folders)
  • Box 6
    Edwin M. Watson Residence 1939 Aug.-1955
    (6 folders)
  • Box 7
    Stanley Woodward Residence 1940-1955
    (6 folders)
Series III: Accession 7615-b
  • Box 1
    Allied Foods, Inc. 1961-1962
    (2 folders)
  • Box 1
    Russell Alger Residence 1952-1954
    (2 folders)
  • Box 1
    Baptist Student Union 1959-1961
    (2 folders)
  • Box 1
    Belfield School Addition #2 1957
  • Box 2
    Belfield School Addition #2 1957-1958
  • Box 2
    Belfield School Addition #3 1959-1960
  • Box 2
    Belfield School Addition #4 1960-1961, n.d.
  • Box 2
    Belmont Baptist Church 1958-1959
    (2 folders)
  • Box 3
    Brewster Residence 1941-1946
    (2 folders)
  • Box 3
    R.S. Burgess Residence [1939], 1953-1955
  • Burnley-Moran/Johnson Elementary Schools 1957-1959
    (3 folders)
  • Box 4
    Christ Church 1958-1960
    (2 folders)
  • Box 4
    Clay Camp Residence 1959-1960, n.d.
  • Box 4
    Crozet Baptist Church [1950], 1954-1955
  • Box 4
    Culpeper Methodist Church 1956-1957 May
    (2 folders)
  • Box 5
    Culpeper Methodist Church 1957 Jun.-1958, n.d.
  • Box 5
    Daily Progress Building 1955-1957
    (3 folders)
  • Box 5
    Employment Applications 1955-1961, n.d.
  • Box 6
    Charles D. Evans Residence, "Glendower" 1961-1963, n.d.
  • Box 6
    First Methodist Church Fire 1950-1951
  • Box 6
    David J. Gibson Residence 1952
  • Box 6
    Langhorne Gibson Residence 1947-1948
  • Box 6
    Grace Lutheran Church 1956-1959
    (3 folders)
  • Box 6
    Milton L. Grigg Residence 1948-1949
  • Box 7
    W.D. Haden Residence 1952-1955
  • Box 7
    Frank L. Hereford Residence 1959-1961
  • Box 7
    Hinton Avenue Methodist Church 1958-1959
    (2 folders)
  • Box 7
    Jackson Park Office Building 1954-1955 Aug.
    (2 folders)
  • Box 8
    Jackson Park Office Building 1955 Sep.-1956
    (2 folders)
  • Box 8
    Janssen Residence 1950-1953
  • Box 8
    Keswick 1958-1961
  • Box 8
    Louisa Bank 1949-1950
  • Box 8
    Madison Hall 1960-1961 Mar.
  • Box 9
    Madison Hall 1961-1962
    (2 folders)
  • Box 9
    R.G. Magruder Residence 1951-1953
    (2 folders)
  • Box 9
    Maples Residence 1957-1958
  • Box 9
    Joseph F. Moore Residence 1952
  • Box 9
    Mulholland Residence 1952-1954
  • Box 10
    National Bank and Trust Co. 1954
  • Box 10
    National Cash Register Co. 1958-1961
  • Box 10
    Helen Palmer Residence 1948-1949
  • Box 10
    Martin Palmer Residence 1953-1955
  • Box 10
    J.B. Pangman Residence 1954-1959
  • Box 10
    Parks Residence 1949-1950
  • Box 10
    People's National Bank: Labor Cost Reports 1955-1956
  • Box 11
    People's National Bank 1955-1958
    (4 folders)
  • Box 12
    Phi Epsilon Pi Fraternity 1958-1962
    (2 folders)
  • Physicians and Surgeons Building 1953-1955
    (2 folders)
  • Box 12
    Priest Residence 1952-1953
  • Box 12
    Pugh Apartments 1949-1951
  • Pugh Residence 1947-1949
  • Box 12
    St. John's Episcopal Church 1955-1957 Mar.
  • Box 13
    St. John's Episcopal Church 1957 Apr.-1960
    (2 folders)
  • Box 13
    St. Paul's Memorial Church 1954-1955
  • Box 13
    Scrimshaw Houses 1946-1947
  • Box 13
    Vincent Shea Residence 1951-1955
  • Box 13
    Sierk Residence 1955-1956
  • Box 13
    Dr. Arthur Smith Clinic and Offices 1956-1958
  • Box 14
    W.A. Smith Residence 1950-1951
  • Box 14
    Tilman's Department Store: Labor Cost reports 1956-1957
  • Box 14
    Tilman's Department Store 1955-1958
    (2 folders)
  • Box 14
    University of Virginia: East Stairs to Alderman Library 1959
  • Box 14
    University of Virginia: Law School 1961-1962
    (3 folders)
  • Box 14
    University of Virginia: Rotunda Steps, Terrace and Bathroom 1958-1959
  • Box 15
    Walnut Grove 1947-1948
  • Box 15
    Wesley Memorial Methodist Church: Labor Cost Reports 1956-1957
  • Box 15
    Wesley Memorial Methodist Church 1956-1957
    (3 folders)
  • Box 15
    Westminster Presbyterian Church 1957-1959
    (2 folders)
  • Box 16
    White Residence 1954-1955
  • Box 16
    Wilson Residence 1954-1955
  • Box 16
    Youel Residence 1956-1958