Born Anne Hill Carter in 1773, the future mother of General Robert E. Lee was part of a prestigious family that most likely knew the Founding Fathers personally. She was also married to a famous soldier, General Henry Lee, commonly known as “Light Horse Harry Lee.”[1. Cazenove G. Lee, Jr., “Ann Hill Carter,” The William and Mary Quarterly , Second Series, Vol. 16, No. 3 (Jul., 1936), 417.] The couple had five children together, the fourth being Robert E. Lee, born in 1807. Ann appears to have been a gentle, but often sickly, mother, venturing out to attend to her children whenever her health permitted.[2. “General Robert E. Lee: 1807-1870,” Stratford Hall, http://www.stratfordhall.org/learn/lees/robert_e_lee.php.] Her son, Robert, was particularly fond of her and tended to his ailing mother until her death in 1829.[3. Lee, 419.]
Constructed as mainly an administrative building, Lee Hall opened in 1951[1. William B. Crawley Jr., University of Mary Washington: A Centennial History, 1908-2008 (Fredericksburg, VA: University of Mary Washington Foundation, 2008), 57.] under the construction boom of President Simpson. Besides office and social space, the hall originally had a pool in the basement, but in the 1970s it was converted into a pub-style café for students.[5. Crawley, 215.] For a short time, starting in 1971, Lee Hall housed a campus Day Care for the young children of faculty members, but it faded away after 1974.[6. Crawley, 148.] The terrace of Lee Hall was the site of the formal Junior Ring Dance and continues to host similar celebrations. The Lee Ballroom also hosted the far less formal Keg parties,[7. Crawley, 164.] which are no longer celebrated, as well as the annual Halloween party.[8. Crawley, 887.] In 2007, Lee Hall underwent major renovations, completely closing until 2009 when it reopened with the popular addition of a newly refurbished café, The Underground. It is currently home to the Campus Bookstore, Student Services Center, administrative offices, Office of Admissions, the James Farmer Multicultural Center, Career Services, Counseling and Psychological Services, and the university’s Health Center.