Blewett Harrison Lee

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Blewett Harrison Lee
Born(1867-03-01)March 1, 1867
DiedApril 18, 1951(1951-04-18) (aged 84)
NationalityUnited States
Alma materMississippi State University (B.S.)
University of Virginia
Harvard Law School (LL.B., M.A.)
OccupationLaw professor, attorney
Known forExpert on railroad and aviation law
Spouse(s)Frances Glessner Lee

Blewett Harrison Lee (March 1, 1867 – April 18, 1951) was an American legal scholar and corporate attorney who taught at the Northwestern University Law School and University of Chicago Law School, and served as general counsel to the Illinois Central Railroad.


Lee was born in Columbus, Mississippi, the only child to Regina Lilly Harrison and Stephen D. Lee, a general in the Confederate States Army and later president of Mississippi State University from 1880 to 1899.[1][2][3] In 1883, Lee graduated with a B.S. from Agricultural and Mechanical College of Mississippi, as MSU was then titled, where he was the valedictorian.[4] From 1883 to 1885, he studied at the University of Virginia, serving as editor of Virginia University magazine. He attended Harvard Law School, obtaining his LL.B. and M.A. in 1888, at the age of 21, and was one of the founders of the Harvard Law Review.[5] After law school, he pursued a year of graduate studies at the universities in Freiburg and Leipzig, Germany.[6] Then, Lee clerked, or in the parlance of the era served as private secretary, for Associate Justice Horace Gray of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 1889-1890 term.[7][8] From 1891 to 1893, he was lecturer at Atlanta Law School.[9][10]

In 1893, he moved to Chicago where he was a professor at Northwestern University Law School until 1901, and then at the University of Chicago Law School from 1902 to 1903.[11]

In 1909, Lee was named general counsel for the Illinois Central Railroad, and served in that position during the Illinois Central shopmen's strike of 1911.[12][13] In 1913, he published an article on aviation law, “Sovereignty of the Air," in the American Journal of International Law, arguing the rules of railroad law should guide regulation of commercial aircraft.[1] In 1913, he presented the paper at the annual meetings of the Tennessee Bar Association and Alabama Bar Association, and spoke at the annual meeting of The Mississippi Bar on railroad litigation.[14][15] In 1916, he inherited his childhood house in Columbus, Mississippi, which his grandfather had built, and sold the property to the city for use as the site of the Stephen D. Lee High School. In his later years, he became fascinated with psychic phenomena and spiritualism, publishing several law review articles on the religious freedom implications of prosecution of practitioners.[16]

Personal life[edit]

In 1898, Blewett wed Frances Glessner of Chicago, who had a career as a forensic scientist.[17][18][19] They had three children: John Glessner Lee, Frances Lee (Martin), and Martha Lee. In 1914, the couple divorced.[20][21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Waide, Whit; Giesen, James C. (2017). "Blewett Lee: Mississippi's Forgotten Legal Pioneer". Mississippi History Now. Mississippi Historical Society. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  2. ^ The National Cyclopedia of American Biography ... V.1-, Volume 5. James Terry White. 1894. pp. 414–415. Retrieved July 4, 2019. Entry for Stephen D. Lee.
  3. ^ "Monument to Gen. Stephen E. Lee". Montgomery Montior. Georgia Historic Newspapers. September 10, 1908. p. 2. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  4. ^ Catalogue of the Legal Fraternity of Phi Delta Phi. Inland Press. 1897. p. 70. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  5. ^ Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates of Harvard University, 1636-1915, Class of 1890. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University. 1915. p. 726. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  6. ^ Leonard, John William (1907). Men of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporaries, Volume 1. L.R. Hamersly. p. 1452. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  7. ^ Peppers, Todd C.; Ward, Artemus (2012). In Chambers: Stories of Supreme Court Law Clerks and Their Justices. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press. ISBN 978-0813932651. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  8. ^ Nelson, William E.; Rishikof, Harvey; Messinger, I. Scott; Jo, Michael (2009). "The Liberal Tradition of the Supreme Court Clerkship: Its Rise, Fall and Reincarnation?" (PDF). Vanderbilt Law Review. 62: 1749, 1759, fn 36. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  9. ^ "Personal Mention". The Sunny South. Georgia Historic Newspapers. December 3, 1892. p. 13. Retrieved July 4, 2019. one of Atlanta's most brilliant young attorneys, Mr. Blewett Lee
  10. ^ "Free Scholarship in Law School for Deserving Young Men". Butler Herald. December 15, 1932. p. 6. Retrieved July 4, 2019. The Atlanta Law School was founded in 1890 by...Col. Blewett Lee, who is now general counsel for the Illinois Central railroad.
  11. ^ "Lawyers in Session, Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association". The True Citizen. Georgia Historic Newspapers. August 22, 1896. Retrieved July 4, 2019. Professor Blewett Lee, of the Northwestern University
  12. ^ "Harahan Honors Lee". The Brunswick News. Georgia Historic Newspapers. June 19, 1909. p. 1. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  13. ^ "Sheriff's Deputies Attempt to Serve Subpoenas on Directors in Huge 'Damages Suit'". Urbana Daily Courier. Illinois Historic Newspapers. October 21, 1910. p. 2. Retrieved July 4, 2019. Blewett Lee, general solicitor for the road
  14. ^ The Legal World. The Green Bag, Volume 25. August 1913. p. 363. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  15. ^ Proceedings of the Illinois State Bar Association. Chicago, IL: Illinois State Bar. 1914. pp. 80, 82. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  16. ^ McCrary, Charles (2018). "Fortune Telling and American Religious Freedom". Religion and American Culture. Cambridge University Press. 28 (2): 269–306. doi:10.1525/rac.2018.28.2.269. S2CID 149754341.
  17. ^ Miller, Laura J. (September–October 2005). "Frances Glessner Lee: Brief life of a forensic miniaturist: 1878-1962". Harvard Magazine. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  18. ^ "Murder Is Her Hobby: Frances Glessner Lee and The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death". Smithsonian American Art Museum. October 2017. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  19. ^ Rosado, Ana (October 25, 2017). "Miniature murders: Unsolved crimes recreated in dollhouses". CNN. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  20. ^ "Frances 'Fanny' Glessner". The Glessner House blog. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
  21. ^ "News of Chicago". The Day Book. Illinois Historic Newspapers. July 15, 1914. p. 7. Retrieved July 4, 2019. Wife of Blewett Lee, general counsel of I.C.R.R., granted divorce.

Selected publications[edit]

External links[edit]