The Catholic University of America

Thomas Sim Lee

An inventory of Thomas Sim Lee Papers at The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives


Contact Information:

Mailing Address: The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 20064

Telephone: 202-319-5065

Email: lib-archives@cua.edu

URL: http://archives.lib.cua.edu/

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Descriptive Summary

Repository: The American Catholic Research Center and University Archives
Creator: Thomas Sim Lee, 1/8/1842-8/11/1922
Title: Thomas Sim Lee Papers
Dates: 1860-1916, n.d.
Extent: 2.5 linear feet; 1 box
Abstract: Rector of the Cathedral of Baltimore and of St. Matthew's Church, Washington, D.C., Lee was also a trustee of The Catholic University of America (CUA). Consisting of personal correspondence, official documents and certificates, receipts, printed material, a volume on his Golden Jubilee, and photographs, the papers document his studies, ordination, and travels. Of particular note are family letters written during the Civil War that discuss the course of the war in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area.
Collection Number: 259
Language: English

Biographical Note

Thomas Sim Lee, the son of John Lee and Harriet Carroll (the granddaughter of Charles Carroll of Carrollton) was born on January 8, 1842 in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended a school near Needwood, the old family home in Frederick County, and later a French school in Baltimore. He entered Mt. St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, probably in 1857, but left due to illness. He traveled to Europe, settled in Rome, and began studies at the North American College. He was ordained a priest on May 3, 1866 by Monsignor Castellaci Villanova, Vicegerent of Rome. Lee was fist assigned to St. Vincent de Paul in Baltimore on September 22, 1866. Two years later he became secretary to Most Reverend Martin J. Spalding, Archbishop of Baltimore. In September of 1873 he was appointed rector of the Cathedral of Baltimore. He was made rector of St. Mathews's Church in Washington, D.C. on November 26, 1891 and held that position until his death in 1922.

Lee's chief project at St. Matthew's was to build a new church for the parish. He traveled to Europe in 1892, visiting the great cathedrals to secure designs for the new church. On November 30, 1893, the cornerstone for this church was laid in a ceremony officiated by Cardinal James Gibbons. On October 12, 1939 the church, described as Byzantine with an Italian feeling, was designated a cathedral for the new Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

Lee served as a trustee of The Catholic University of America (CUA) from 1888 until 1920 and, on May 6, 1908, he founded a fellowship there to aid priests in attaining the degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology. He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from Mt. St. Mary's on August 12, 1908. Appointed a Domestic Prelate by Pope Pius X on November 8, 1908, he was invested with the robes of that office by Cardinal Gibbons.

A Golden Jubilee Celebration was held at St. Matthew's on May 2, 1916 in honor of the 50th anniversary of Lee's ordination.

Thomas Sim Lee died at Needwood on August 11, 1922. A requiem mass was held at St. Matthew's on August 14 and Lee was buried in the New Cathedral Cemetery in Baltimore.

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Scope and Contents

The Thomas Sim Lee papers span the years 1860-1916. They document his studies at the North American College in Rome, his ordination, and his travels to Europe and the Far East. The collection consists of personal correspondence, official documents and certificates, travel notes, a Golden Jubilee volume, receipts and printed material, and photographs.

The first series, Personal Correspondence, 1861-1902, and undated, consists of letters from the Lee family and friends. It documents his studies, ordination, travel plans, and appointment to St. Vincent de Paul's. The correspondence also contains interesting material on the Lee family's reflections and actions concerning the Civil War and its course through Maryland and the Washington area. In one letter Lee expounds upon the troubles which may arise if the problem of negro slavery in not settled.

The second series, Official Documents and Certificates, 1860-1914, includes letters of introduction from Cardinal James Gibbons, passports, documents concerning the authenticity of holy relics, his exemption from military duty, and Vatican business.

The third series, Travel Notes, Receipts and Printed Materials, 1860-1886, reflect Lee's travels through Europe and the Far East (Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Ceylon).

The fourth series, Photographs, 1862 and undated, are primarily of Lee's college companions at the North American College in Rome. There are three photographs of Lee and one of the Needwood home. Also included are some photographs of prelates, most notably, Archbishop Charles Seghers.

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Arrangement

The Thomas Sim Lee Papers consists of five series:






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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

None

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Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

Donated in 1950 by Thomas Lee and Sarah R. Lee.

Processing Information

Original processing completed in 1978 by S.C. and E.A.M., with minor revisions in 2010 by William John Shepherd. EAD markup completed in 2010 by William John Shepehrd.

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Related Material

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Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.


Persons:
Gibbons, Cardinal James
Lee, Harriet Carroll
Lee, John
Letterman, Mary
Smith, Bernard

Organizations:
Baltimore Cathedral
North American College, Rome, Italy
St. Matthew's Church, Washington, D.C.
The Catholic University of America (CUA), Washington, D.C.

Places:
Baltimore, Maryland
Frederick, Maryland
Rome, Italy
Washington, D.C.

Subjects:
American Civil War
European Travel


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Select Bibliography

Ahern, Patrick H. The Catholic University of America, 1887-1896, The Rectorship of John J. Keane, Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1948. Barry, Coleman J. The Catholic University of Amercia, 1903-1909, The Rectorship of Denis J. O'Connell. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1950. Ellis, John Tracy. The Formative Years of The Catholic University of America. Washington, DC: American Catholic Historical Association, 1946. MacGregor, Morris J. The Emergence of a Black Catholic Community: St. Augustine's In Washington. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1999. Nuesse, C. Joseph. The Catholic University of America: A Centennial History. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1990.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

                       
Series 1: Personal Correspondence, 1861-1902, n.d. (1 box)
Letters to his mother, Harriet Carroll Lee, his father, John Lee, and sister Mary Letterman. There is also a letter from Bernard Smith.
Box Folder
1 1 Correspondence, 7/24/1861-12/25/1864
  2 Correspondence, 3/7/1865-7/8/1902, n.d.
                       
Series 2: Official Documents and Certificates, 1860-1914 (1 box)
Lee's certificate of exemption from military service (1867), diplomatic passes issued by the U.S. government (1885-1908), Vatican documents (1861-1908), and letters of introduction (1885-1914).
Box Folder
1 3 Official Documents and Certificates, 1860-1887
  4 Official Documents and Certificates, 1888-1914
                       
Series 3: Travel Noes, Receipts and Printed Materials, 1860-1886 (1 box)
Account statements of Lee's travels, passage rates, hotel accomodation coupons, and travel notes from Japan, Hong Kong, Sinagapore, Java, Ceylon, and routes from Madras to Rangoon.
Box Folder
1 5 Travel Notes, Receipts and Printed Materials, 1860-1886
                       
Series 4: Photographs, 1862, n.d. (1 box)
Mainly photographs of Lee's school friends in Rome. Included is an 1862 photograph of his mother and sister in Needwood.
Box Folder
1 6 Photographs, 1862, n.d.
  7 Photographs, n.d.
                       
Series 5: The Golden Jubilee (Volume), 1916 (1 box)
A volume prepared in honor of Lee's Golden Jubilee containing material, such as a mini biography and poems related to the celebration.
Box Folder
1 8 The Golden Jubilee (Volume), 1916

TABLE OF CONTENTS


Descriptive Summary

Biographical Note

Scope and Contents

Arrangement

Restrictions

Administrative Information

Related Material

Index Terms

Select Bibliography

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Personal Correspondence, 1861-1902, n.d.

Series 2: Official Documents and Certificates, 1860-1914

Series 3: Travel Noes, Receipts and Printed Materials, 1860-1886

Series 4: Photographs, 1862, n.d.

Series 5: The Golden Jubilee (Volume), 1916

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