Francis Preston Blair Lee (August 9, 1857 – December 25, 1944) was a Democratic member of the United States Senate, representing the State of Maryland from 1914 to 1917. He was also the great-grandson of American patriot Richard Henry Lee, and grandfather of Governor of Maryland Blair Lee III. Lee was named after his maternal grandfather, Francis Preston Blair.

Blair Lee I
Blair lee I.jpg
United States Senator
from Maryland
In office
January 28, 1914 – March 3, 1917
Preceded byWilliam P. Jackson
Succeeded byJoseph I. France
Personal details
Francis Preston Blair Lee

(1857-08-09)August 9, 1857
Silver Spring, Maryland
DiedDecember 25, 1944(1944-12-25) (aged 87)
Norwood, Maryland
Political partyDemocratic
ChildrenE. Brooke Lee

Life and careerEdit

Lee was born in Silver Spring, Maryland and attended the common schools in the area. He was the son of Samuel Phillips Lee and his wife, the former Elizabeth Blair. He graduated from Princeton University in 1880 and from the law department of Columbian (now George Washington) University in 1882. He was admitted to the bar of the District of Columbia and of Montgomery County, Maryland in 1883 and commenced practice in Maryland.

Lee was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the Fifty-fifth Congress in 1896. He was, however, elected to the Maryland State Senate, and served from 1905 to 1913. In 1911, Lee ran for the position of Governor of Maryland, but lost the Democratic nomination to Arthur Pue Gorman, Jr. (who lost to Republican candidate Phillips Lee Goldsborough).[1] In 1915, he again ran for Governor and was defeated in the Democratic Primary by eventual winner Emerson Harrington.

Following his defeat in the gubernatorial election, Lee was elected to the United States Senate in a special election on November 4, 1913, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of senator Isidor Rayner. Because the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution had recently gone into effect, Lee became the second U.S. Senator directly elected by the people of a state under the Constitution's provisions (although other states had previously elected senators indirectly through popular elections, which were then ratified by the state legislature). He presented his credentials to serve as senator on December 5, 1913, but he did not qualify until January 28, 1914 because the incumbent in his seat, Republican William P. Jackson, claimed that "since he had been appointed under the original constitutional provision, he was entitled to hold his seat until the regularly scheduled adjournment date of the Maryland state assembly."[2]

The Senate considered Jackson's challenge but eventually rejected it and seated Lee. While senator, Lee was chairman of the Committee on Expenditures in the Post Office Department, and a member of the Committee on Coast Defenses (Sixty-third and Sixty-fourth Congresses). He was unsuccessful in his bid for re-election in 1916, losing the Democratic nomination to David John Lewis (who went on to lose to Joseph I. France).

Lee resumed the practice of law after he left the Senate. He died in Norwood, Maryland and is buried in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.


  1. ^ "Commentary: Right time, right place for Lee". The Daily Record. Baltimore: via HighBeam (subscription required). January 19, 2012. Archived from the original on June 11, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  2. ^ The Election Case of William P. Jackson v. Blair Lee of Maryland (1914)
Party political offices
First Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Maryland
(Class 1)

Succeeded by
U.S. Senate
Preceded by U.S. senator (Class 1) from Maryland
Served alongside: John Walter Smith
Succeeded by