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Thomas Sim Lee Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS286

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

The Thomas Sim Lee Papers consist of five letters, four of which were sent to Thomas Sim Lee (1745-1819), the governor of Maryland from 1779 to 1783. Sent by Reverend J. Bowie, Reverend John Ashton, and Reverend John B. David, the letters to Lee touch on life in Maryland during the American Revolution as well as church and state relations. The only letter not addressed to Lee was sent from Bishop John Joseph Chance of Maryland to John Lee at the Lee estate, Needwood. Together, these letters provide insight into Thomas Sim Lee's life. Contained in one archival box (0.25 linear feet) and arranged in chronological order, the Thomas Sim Lee Papers are comprised of five folders. The letters span the dates 1778 to 1844.


  • 1778 - 1844

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical note

Best known as the governor of Maryland during the American Revolution, Thomas Sim Lee (1745-1819) was born in Prince George's County, Maryland, the son of Thomas and Christiana (Sim) Lee. Richard Lee was Thomas Sim Lee's great-great-grandfather. On October 27, 1771, Thomas Sim Lee married Mary Digges, whose father was a prominent Maryland landowner. In 1777, Thomas Sim Lee became a member of the provincial council. The Maryland legislature selected him to be governor in 1779. Lee won wide praise for his logistical abilities as governor. He consistently procured fresh troops and supplies for the Continental Army. George Washington was Lee's friend, and Lee, learning of the plan to pin down Cornwallis, exerted all his energies to support the American troops. In 1783, Lee ended his governorship. In his post-governor career, Thomas Sim Lee served as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1783 and 1784, attended the state convention to ratify the U.S. Constitution, and voted for Washington's second term as a Federalist presidential elector. Lee actually was made governor a second time in 1792, retiring in 1794. Soon after, Lee set up a winter home in Georgetown, near the nation's capital. Federalists frequented the home, which became a meeting place for them. Although Lee was offered U.S. Senatorship in 1794 and a third term as governor in 1798, he declined both opportunities. Instead, Thomas Sim Lee focused his attention on his estate, Needwood, in Frederick County, where he owned some two hundred slaves. [Source: "Dictionary of American Biography." Vol. 11 (New York: Scribner's, 1933), p. 132.]


0.25 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Thomas Sim Lee Papers
Scott S. Taylor. Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057