Terrestrial Globe
c 1800s
Cary Brothers, London, England

This globe was found in the attic of Arlington House in 1928 during roof repair. Tradition has it that the globe has never left the property since the Lees lived there. This globe was probably used to teach world geography to Mrs. Lee as a girl and later to her own children. Since the Custises and Lees taught the enslaved people of Arlington, it is likely that they also used this globe.

Background Information on the Globe:
The Cary Brothers of England created the globe at the start of the 19th century. It is thought that the globe postdates 1795. There are several parts of Africa still listed as “unknown territory” and Australia is featured.

These globes were made with two separate pieces to symbolize the hemispheres. The pieces were made with papier-mâché and then enclosed with a pulp-like material to more completely form the halves. A wooden rod was inserted through the center and long nails were inserted on either end of the rod to keep it in place. This rod had a metal cap at the top of the globe that was used to calculate time. The bottom of the rod had a metal guide at the globe’s base that would have been notched to fit into the grooved brass degree ring, allowing the globe to rotate on its axis. The formed pulp was then covered with a thick layer of gesso and then a thin layer of gauze. The gauze formed the paper structure to house the map.. The map was painted with watercolors from a limited palette (mostly greens, reds, browns) and then varnished. Unlike most globes of this period that usually have 18 layers of varnish, the Cary Brothers applied only a thin layer to this globe. Globes also have weights in the bottom made up of cork, animal hide glue, lead shot and fabric.

Papier-mâché, paper, gesso, gauze, brass, wood. H 42.5, D 42.5 cm (globe D 30 cm)
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, ARHO 201