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Fri, May 5, 2023 01:00AM EDT
Lot 6

George Washington 1797 Letter to Ludwell Lee (Virginia)

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A 1797 letter from George Washington, commander of the Continental Army, Founding Father, and first President of the United States, addressed to Ludwell Lee (Esq.) of Shuter's Hill, Alexandria, Virginia. Ludwell Lee was a Speaker of the Virginia Senate, a kinsman of Robert E. Lee, and son of Richard Henry Lee, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The letter dates to a few months after Washington's second term as President. Washington's correspondence from that later period at Mount Vernon is now fairly scarce, as he would take ill and lose his life in 1799, and Martha Washington burned many of his personal papers for the privacy of the family.

"Mount Vernon, 29th Aug. 1797.
Dear Sir,
General Spotswood M'., Miss & Capt. Spotswood, and Miss Thornton of Culpepper (all relations I believe of yours) are now here. -- They, M'. Washington, and myself, would be glad to see you, M'. Lee, Miss Armistead & any others of your family, at Dinner tomorrow. -- With esteem & regard
I am - Dear Sir
Your Obed'. & Hble Serv'.
G': Washington

The letter is framed with the images of George and Martha Washington, along with a transcription and brief contextual description. The letter measures 8 3/4" x 14 1/2", and the glazed frame measures 35 3/8" x 23 3/4" x 1 1/2".

Provenance: From the collection of a notable Kansas City doctor, benefactor, and descendant of the Spotswoods named in the letter. Acquired in 2002 from Early American History Auctions (Rancho Santa Fe, California).


The letter shows dampstaining above the addressee, some foxing and soiling, and residual staining from the wax seal. Typical and inherent folding.