We are asking you to join with Arlington House Foundation (AHF) in guaranteeing that American citizens, as well as visitors from abroad, will always have this precious resource for studying and reflecting on the important lessons revealed by our history.
Over the coming months, Arlington House Foundation hopes to raise money to fund the following projects:
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The voluminous files, archives and library of the National Park Service contain countless documents, along with artifacts, relevant to the history, restoration and maintenance of Arlington House that have never been available to the public. These documents are poorly organized, lack adequate identification, have never been digitized in a way that is useful to researchers and are stored in a non-climate controlled curatorial building which has a leaky roof. Funds are sorely needed to digitize, protect and preserve these valuable historical documents and artifacts.
In sum, although David Rubenstein gave $12.5 Million for the restoration of the House and outlying buildings, nothing was allocated to the repair and maintenance of the Curatorial Building where so much of the Arlington House archival materials are located. The Curatorial building currently lacks proper air conditioning/humidification, electronic and digital research aids and a comfortable work environment for staff and researchers. This project will ensure that all Arlington House documents are properly identified, archived, and digitized and are made accessible to staff and researchers in a productive work environment for staff, historians, researchers, and the public.
AHF seeks to prioritize the archiving of the "Elizabeth Pryor" papers. Elizabeth Brown Pryor was a founding member of the Arlington House Foundation Board. Before her untimely death in 2015, Elizabeth Pryor was the world's leading scholar of Arlington House and the life of Robert E. Lee. Because of their singular importance, we intend to collect, organize, and digitize her papers so that her invaluable insights on Robert E. Lee and the American Civil War can be made available to historians, researchers, and lovers of history alike.
Below are links to a sampling of her papers and articles which demonstrate her skills as a researcher and fidelity to voicing the truth of our nation's momentous historical past:
The "Kitchen Garden" located on the northwest side of the Mansion is the space where enslaved Africans toiled to produce food for the Custis and Lee families. By restoring this garden, we honor their lives and legacies while feeding the needy in nearby Arlington.
The Arlington Flower Garden was a great place of beauty and reflection during the plantation years. When Arlington National Cemetery was created during the Civil War, General Montgomery Meigs purposely placed the graves of Union officers surrounding the garden as a demonstration of federal control and a message to the Lees that they were no longer welcome in their old home. The garden has been restored but funding isn't available for its constant upkeep. This project will replant the garden with flowers, plants, and shrubbery similar to the plantings that existed in 1860, along with restoring the gazebo that graced the garden at the outbreak of the Civil War.
As each day passes, the work of Arlington House Foundation grows more vital. In addition to the above projects for which we seek funding, we will be raising money to complete the restoration of the historic frescoes in the mansion and on the facades of the enslaved quarters. We will be creating education programs for local students and will assist the National Park Service in any way that is needed. Please join us in preserving this historic property and its unique history.