Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
1853 Harper's Magazine illustration of Arlington House. By the 1850's Arlington was a draw for hundreds of tourists. How could be that be, without a General Lee, Meigs and Civil War? Pre-Lee, pre-war, pre enshrined memorial, Arlington overlooked our National Capitol on purpose. It was " Washington ".
Unclear if this set was taken with the family ( one cart at least escaped ' South ' ) or is in DC somewhere- or back at Arlington? GWP allowed viewing of our nations's heirlooms.
Please no one go up in smoke, resent our nation's deepest History or feel this thread is in any way pointed, anti Lee or contentious. These moments in Time are what they are. Besides, shooting the messenger changes nothing. Wearing my pink Kevlar today.
Yet another reason to tie George Washington Parke Custis, Arlington House ( as we see, his ' Seat' ), Washington and Custis' daughter Mary Randolph Custis ( Lee ) into a neat, documented, historical package is to solve a mystery. Why in blazes has she been, if not vilified, uglified, dismissed and IMO deliberately set at an historical distance from her husband? Beginning to see daylight.
Harper's lengthy ( lengthy... ) spread replicates old treasures at Arlington. This journalist was indefatiguable; as GWP Custis opens to him both house and estate, he not only replicates oil paintings depicting our great battles of the Revolution, each is given a wonderful narrative. Since this private/public museum is precisely what GWP Custis had planned, it's amazing we have this portrait of Arlington. So committed to our nation's collective History, he included George's mother in his conversations at Arlington- one section
Mary Lee was Pro-Glue. You could say ' Pro-Union ' but it's erroneous. Because her family rested forever in a nearly sacred past it broke her heart when torn apart.
Part of a letter from a master's thesis, turned in in 1939. Boy did she pay for this, as did Arlington House. You can see why she is pro-GLUE. Inevitably, it became ' anti-South '.
Harpers journalist is led on a tour of GWP's home. Seeing his own portrait, with his sister ( who had just died in 1852 ) must have been surreal. With Lord Baltimore as a relative, George Washington, stepfather and their deceased, Custis father, these children were as close to being American royalty as our Constitution allowed.
Little boy, grown up We somehow, for some reason, managed to ' forget ' these deeply entrenched icons, each holding up some hugely important joist framing out ' America '. And cannot.
Why does it get swiped for Ladies Tea? Because Mary Randolph Custis ( Lee ) 's grgrgrandchildrenm whomever they are, have the vast good fortune to be forever emeshed in America's deepest History. Until our tragic war they knew it.
When our government entitles Arlington House ' The Lee Mansion ' despite its origins, built by the venerated grandson of our Nation's founder and visited on that basis, at his behest, by up to 200 visitors a day, there's a denial so abysmal as to be shocking.
One of the masterpieces collected and ' given ' to our nation by Custis- viewed by Harpers.
And another, our Martha.
Not Harper's, just a reminder the article is there, always in 1853, putting runaway myth to rest and giving our nation back two National Treasures- George Washington Parke Custis and his seat, Arlington House.
GWP's little boat ( called the " GWP Custis ) shuttled tourists to the shores beneath Arlington. One attraction? GWP and Harper's took ' us ' to Arlington's spring. he built these enclosures for the general public and would go anonymously to watch people just, plain having fun.
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