Skip to main content
COLLECTION Identifier: MC 1128

Letters from Mary Lee to Susan M. Lee, 1943-1977


Letters and travel journal sent from author and journalist Mary Lee to her cousin Susan M. Lee.


  • Creation: 1943-1977


Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Access Restrictions:

Access. Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Mary Lee is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


.21 linear feet (1/2 file box)

Collection contains letters from Mary Lee to her cousin Susan M. Lee. Topics include travel; her mother's funeral (1948); appreciation for her friendship with Susan Lee; spending time at Putnam Camp (a family-owned vacation camp); and politics, including support for Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1944), voting for Dwight D. Eisenhower (1950s), and Richard Nixon's presidential election (1968). Letters from the late 1960s also include Lee's thoughts about and disapproval of Jacqueline Kennedy's marriage to Aristotle Onassis, a talk at Radcliffe by Mary Bunting, and ice skating on the Charles River. The collection also includes typescripts of Mary Lee's "Journal of a Trip Around the World" (#1.3-1.6) that she mailed to Susan Lee in installments. The journal contains her impressions, observations, and activities while sailing on the S.S. President Monroe and visiting countries in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, including India, Japan, Pakistan, Italy, and France.


Mary Lee (Radcliffe, A.B. 1917, A.M. 1920), was born in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, on December 10, 1891. During World War I Lee served with the American Red Cross, the American Expeditionary Forces in France, and the American Air Service in Paris. After the war Lee returned to Radcliffe College, receiving her M.A. in government, history, and economics in 1920. She wrote "It's A Great War!" an award-winning memoir of her experiences during World War I and freelanced for many years as a journalist. During World War II, Lee served as executive secretary for two years for the Greek War Relief Association, receiving the Royal Hellenic Order of the Phoenix medal from King Paul of Greece for her work. Throughout her life, Lee was involved in community causes, serving as first director of the Widows' Society in Boston, member of the Radcliffe College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the National Birth Control League of Massachusetts, and other organizations. She was also physically active, skiing, hiking, and horseback riding until late in her life. She died in 1982.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession number: 2021-M31, 2021-M119

The letters of Mary Lee were given to the Schlesinger Library by Amy Domini Thornton, February and July 2021.

Related Material:

There is related material at the Schlesinger Library; see Papers of Mary Lee, 1913-1964 (inclusive), 1913-1920 (bulk) (SC 76) and Papers of Mary Lee, 1834-1982 (inclusive), 1915-1949 (bulk) (MC 587).

Processing Information

Processed: August 2021

By: Laura Peimer

The Schlesinger Library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.  Finding aids may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by the Pforzheimer Fund for the Schlesinger Library, Sybil Shainwald Fund at the Schlesinger Library, Mary Mitchell Wood Manuscript Processing Fund, and Class of 1956 Schlesinger Library Fund.

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA