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Robert E. Lee was an international celebrity during and after the war. And, like famous athletes in our own time, Lee’s “card” became a collectible. Small carte-de-visite photographs were mass produced especially in New York and sold as souvenirs. Most of the cartes-de-visite were based on photographs taken from life in the studios of Mathew Brady in the 1850s, of Minnis & Cowell in Richmond in 1862, John W. Davies in Richmond in 1864, Julian Vannerson in Richmond in 1864, and Mathew Brady in 1865. These same “source” images were also the basis for woodcuts in illustrated newspapers, engravings in books, and a wide variety of memorial prints published after Lee’s death.
Browse through the gallery of photographs and prints selected from The Museum of the Confederacy’s collection of more than 200 items. Most of them are versions of the major source images slight variations in pose or photographers’ retouching or tinting of the originals.
Robert E. Lee Letters and Documents
The Robert E. Lee related letters and documents in the Brockenbrough Archive of The Museum of the Confederacy spans 32 years, from 1838-1870. A materials voucher, dating from 1838 and signed by Captain Robert E. Lee is the earliest piece, while the last item is a social note from April 1870, where Lee declines an offer to visit far away friends.