Robert M. Lee has been a lifelong enthusiast of fine guns, exploration, conservation and hunting. As a boy in rural New York, he began a lengthy correspondence, and friendship, with outdoor writers Jack O’Connor and Elmer Keith.
Lee was a conservationist long before it became fashionable. While living in Angola in the early 1960s, he was instrumental in obtaining government protection for lion, cheetah, black rhino and their habitats. He then designed the first ecologically sound wildlife management program in Africa with the Portuguese Provincial government (Angola), to counteract the decimation of the big game population by poachers.
In later years he led numerous hunts with H.I.H. Prince Abdorreza, a brother of the Shah of Iran. In 1965, Lee was the founding owner and President of the luxury goods brand, Hunting World, Inc., designers and manufacturers of luggage and leather products, sporting specialties, clothing, watches and accessories, with more than 100 retail points of sale in North America, Europe and the Far East. In 1980, Lee was the first Westerner allowed by the People’s Republic of China, to conduct the first of three scientific expeditions into the Chinese Pamirs and Tien Shan mountains. There he rediscovered the legendary Marco Polo sheep and documented their migration. These expeditions and conservation achievements are memorialized in his second book, China Safari.
Lee is also the author of Safari Today and coauthor of the five-volume miniature series, The Art of the Gun. He funded the endowment of the Robert M. Lee Gallery of American Arms at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in 1988, created an Endowment for Graduate Studies in Sustained Yield Wildlife Management at the University of Montana. In 1999 Lee was presented with the C.J. McElroy Award from Safari Club International for his contributions to hunting and conservation.
A major automobile collector, Lee won the coveted “Best of Show” award at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, the world’s premier automobile competition; first in 2006, with his 1931 Daimler Double-Six 50 Corsica Drophead Coupe and again in 2009, with an in-house restoration of his 1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbeck Sport Cabriolet. The Robert M. Lee Foundation provides financial assistance to worthy international conservation and environmental organizations.