The other day I linked to an article about the evolving legacy of Robert E. Lee. In this week’s Salon Glenn LaFantasie has a piece on the Lee family’s attempts to control his personal papers. Preventing researchers from learning the general’s true feelings about various public figures of the day is one reason for the hesitation; another is to keep letters of a more personal nature away from the public eye, especially letters Lee wrote when he was courting the woman who became his wife. Personally I think Lee’s descendants are making a mistake. The Marble Man myth has already been chipped away significantly and will never return anyway. Ironically the best thing the Lees could do is take all of the the general’s papers and make them available to the public. No individual is well-served by the type of adulation Lee has been subjected to for the past century and a half. It unfair to them and us to do so. Making him more human, including divulging details of his personal life and showing where he stood on the issues of the day and why he made the decisions he did, would be the best service Lee’s descendants could do for him.