• The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.



Lexington, Va., 23 May 1867.

Prof. Jn. Schele de Vere1

University of Va.

My Dear Sir:

I am very sorry that my remarks to Mr C. B. Richardson should have given you any concern. He was kind enough to send me a copy of your grammar, and in acknowledging it and as an evidence of how it was considered, I mentioned that it had been adopted as one of the text books of Washington College. From the cursery examination which I was enabled to give the book, I thought that if somewhat abridged it would have been ensured a wider circulation, and have been introduced into more general use, and so expressed myself. In illustration of my meaning I referred to the discussion of the verbs which, though useful to advanced scholars, I thought might be unnecessary and even embarrassing to beginners. I did not intend to criticize the work, of which I am not capable, but merely wished to suggest what seemed to me would be an improvement, by rendering it cheaper and more acceptable to schools and junior classes. Hoping that the efforts of yourself and of the other learned professors of the University to provide proper text books for our schools and colleges may prove successful,

I am with great respect, yr. obdt. Svt.

 (sgd) R. E. Lee



Source: Photocopy of letterbook copy, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 738, p.46, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Hall, 2018 June 13


1. Maximillian Schele De Vere (1820-1898) was Professor of Modern Languages at the University of Virginia from 1844 until 1895, when he resigned amidst accusations of libel against faculty. Schele De Vere was born in Sweden and immigrated to the United States in 1842, around the time he changed his surname from von Scheele to Schele De Vere. He was a founding member of the American Philological Society and served as captain of a home guard unit for the Confederacy, although he supported the Union before Virginia‚Äôs secession in 1861.


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