Published: June 12, 2017
CINCINNATI, OHIO — The Robert E. Lee desk presented to his personal physician, Dr Robert Madison led Cowan’s Auctions’ June 9 American history sale featuring property of N. Flayderman & Co., bringing $32,400, including the buyer’s premium. The desk presented to Dr Madison, Lee’s personal physician, was accompanied by November 10, 1870 letter from Mary Custis Lee, written shortly after General Lee’s death on October 12, 1870. The diminutive fall-front desk in walnut and mixed woods, having an open shelf gallery with a shaped crest and turned finials, over a fall-front writing surface, measured 57 by 25 by 18 ¾ inches.
Dr. Madison (1828-1878) was the son of the nephew of President James Madison (his grandfather was the president’s youngest brother). After Lee’s death, Mary Custis Lee gifted this small desk to their trusted doctor. She wrote him: You must allow me the great pleasure of presenting you with a little table, used by the General and myself for several years and which Mrs Madison and yourself must keep as a memento of our pleasant intercourse with you in Lexington (Lexington, November 10, 1870) Mary Custis Lee.”
A complete report on the auction will appear in an upcoming edition.
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