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File:Elizabeth Blair Lee.jpg

Elizabeth Blair Lee, portrait by Thomas Sully.

Elizabeth Blair Lee (born June 20, 1818, Kentucky; died September 13, 1906[1] ) was an American woman who lived through the American Civil War, and wrote hundreds of letters [2] describing the events of the times to her husband, Samuel Philips Lee.


She was born in Kentucky to Francis Preston Blair and Eliza Violet Gist Blair. She was the younger sister of Montgomery Blair and Francis Preston Blair, Jr.

According to one version of the story, [3] Elizabeth was present with her father when they chanced upon the silver-flecked spring which would inspire the name of the family's summer home in what would eventually become Silver Spring, Maryland. The spring is still located at Acorn Park.

She married Rear Adm. Samuel Phillips Lee, a US Navy commander in the Union Army during the Civil War. Her letters to her husband, who was away for long periods as commander of the USS Philadelphia, describe wartime life in her homes of Washington, D.C. and Silver Spring, Maryland, during the war.


  1. "Blair and Lee Family Papers". Papers of Elizabeth Blair Le. Princeton University. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  2. Lass, Virginia Jeans (1999-08-03). Wartime Washington: The Civil War Letters of Elizabeth Blair Lee. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0252068591. 
  3. McCoy, Jerry A. (2005). Historic Silver Spring. Silver Spring, Md.: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 26–32. ISBN 0738541885. 

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