Joseph Lee (recreation advocate)

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This article is about a recreation advocate. For other people named Joseph Lee, see Joseph Lee (disambiguation).
Joseph Lee
Born March 8, 1862
Boston, Massachusetts
Died 1937
Nationality American
Alma mater Harvard and Harvard Law School
Occupation Social Activist, Philanthropist

Joseph Lee (1862 – 1937) was a wealthy Bostonian, who trained as a lawyer but never practiced law, and is considered the "founder of the playground movement." He was the son of Henry Lee, a Boston banker, and Elizabeth Perkins Cabot Lee of Brookline, Massachusetts.

He was a social worker, author, and philanthropist. Lee believed that community life could be strengthened by playgrounds and play.

In 1897, Lee married Margaret Cabot. They had four children. Margaret Cabot Lee died in 1920 and Lee remarried his secretary, Marion Snow, in 1930.

Lee founded the Massachusetts Civic League and served as its President from 1897-1937. He was an active officer in the Immigration Restriction League from 1905 until his death in 1937. He served as president of the National Recreation Association from 1910 until the time of his death. Lee was among the first recipients of the Boy Scouts of America Silver Buffalo Award in 1926.[1]


  1. ^ The Massachusetts Historical Society. Library: Collection Guides: Joseph Lee [1]

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