Washington and Lee University

J. Collins Lee, Esquire
In Memoriam

Note: The following is taken from the April 1948 issue of The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography (volume 56), pp. 178–79.


J. COLLINS LEE, Esquire, who died in Richmond, March 23, 1948, had been greatly interested in the work of our Society for some years past. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, March 20, 1880, Mr. Lee was the son of Richard Henry and Isabella (Wilson) Lee and a great grandson of Richard Bland Lee (1761–1827), a brother of General Henry Lee (“Light Horse Harry”).

For many years Mr. Lee was vice-president of the Hartford Fire Insurance Company, from which position he retired some twenty years ago. He was a real benefactor to the Society. Coming to Richmond to live, after his retirement from business life, Mr. Lee became interested in the Virginia Historical Society, and particularly in the Society's house, 707 East Franklin Street, which was the home for the last year of the War Between the States of the family of his illustrious kinsman, General Robert E. Lee. Mr. Lee and his sister, the late Miss Elizabeth Collins Lee, of Baltimore, presented to the Society many notable pieces of furniture and china, formerly belonging to Richard Bland Lee, which have been most effectively used in the refurnishing of “The Lee House” (as 707 East Franklin Street is now familiarly known) as a residence of the ante-bellum period. In later years Mr. Lee also presented to the Society a portrait of his sister, Elizabeth Collins Lee, who as a nurse during World War I, accompanying the Rainbow Division abroad, served in base and evacuation hospitals at Blois and Chaumont and was twice mentioned in orders for heroic conduct under artillery fire during the Meuse-Argonne drive.

The Society will greatly miss the long continued interest in its work of this kindly and generous friend.