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Alexander Hamilton Collection Highlights
Alexander Hamilton Collection Highlights

We are pleased to share a few highlights from our unique collection of more than 1,000 original letters, documents and relics. The Alexander Hamilton Collection tells the story of the orphan immigrant founding father who fought for independence, founded our financial system, and fostered a government capable of surviving internal factions and foreign foes.

Yes, Hamilton’s story includes hubris, infidelity, scandal, and tragedy. The Collection captures that and more within the wider arc of its time. Here are the bold and innovative ideas, original personal letters, historic reports and documents that, at the moment they were written, were changing the world. It contains hundreds of powerful documents from leaders, soldiers, citizens, and the press, written when the Revolutionary War and Founding were current events.

For a quick introduction to The Collection, see and download the 8-page Highlights Brochure (press the download icon in the upper left-hand corner of the page). Curl up with the complete Alexander Hamilton Collection, Part I, our 132-page doctorate-worthy catalog. And to embrace the depth of an expanded presentation, view The Alexander Hamilton Collection, Part II.

You can also view here on the website a selection of Individual Alexander Hamilton and Founding Documents that are available individually.


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To Avoid Abuse from “bigots in religion...politics, or...medicine,” Thomas Jefferson Declines to Publish Benjamin Rush’s Private Correspondence

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph Letter Signed, to James Mease. With conjoined franked address leaf in Jefferson’s hand. August 17, 1816. Monticello, [Charlottesville, Va.]. 1 p., 9¾ x 8 in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

Thomas Jefferson, long since retired to private life, declines the request of Dr. James Mease for copies of Dr. Benjamin Rush’s correspondence with Jefferson. Mease had hoped to include them in a volume of Rush’s letters to be published and specifically requested letters pertaining to Rush’s personal views on religion and politics. After demurring, Jefferson discusses at length the differences between personal and official correspondence, with philosophical thoughts on public versus private expression. He closes with assurances that his decision is nothing personal, and of his great respect for Mease: “I hope, my dear Sir, you will see in my scruples only a sentiment of fidelity to a deceased friend.”

Item #23233

Aaron Burr Resells 20 Lots in Greenwich Village After Initial Buyer Couldn’t Pay Mortgage to Burr’s Manhattan
Company – the Predecessor of JP Morgan Chase

AARON BURR, Manuscript Document Signed, November 1, 1803, Deed to David Gelston for twenty lots in New York City. 4 pp, 9¾ x 16 in.

Item #24022.088

Aaron Burr in Debt to Manhattan Company Bank He Founded

AARON BURR, Manuscript Document (not Burr’s hand, but an original written at the time). Account of Debts to the Manhattan Company, ca. July 20, 1802. 2 pp. 8 x 13 in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

Aaron Burr founded the Manhattan Company in 1799, purportedly to bring clean water to Manhattan to combat a yellow fever epidemic, though only 5% of its capital was used for that purpose. Burr included in its charter a clause allowing surplus capital to be used for banking operations; 95% of the $2,000,000 raised was employed competing with the Bank of New York (founded by Alexander Hamilton in 1784) and the N.Y. branch of the Bank of the United States.

Although Burr earned large fees from his law practice, he spent lavishly, and debt negotiations took much of his time. Between 1799 and 1802, Burr borrowed $61,440 from the Manhattan Company. (In December 1800, Alexander Hamilton wrote that Burr, then the Vice President-elect, “is bankrupt beyond redemption except by the plunder of his country.”) This 1802 summary shows Burr’s total debt to the Company of $64,908.63. Against this, Burr had assigned as security nine mortgages and a promissory note of $5,500 - still $7,000 less than the debt.

Item #24702

John Adams Reacts to the “Reynolds Pamphlet”:
“Can talents atone for such turpitude? Can wisdom reside with such Gullibility?”

JOHN ADAMS, Autograph Letter Signed as President, to Samuel B. Malcom. September 17, 1797. Quincy, Mass. 2 pp. 8 x 9¾ in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

“Mr Locke says the world has all sorts of men. All degrees of human wisdom are mixed with all degrees of human Folly. To me, and I believe, to you, this world would be a Region of Torment, if such a Recollection existed in our memories.”

Item #24380

Hamilton Supports Anyone but Jefferson to Replace Washington as President

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Draft Autograph Letter, on George Washington’s declining a third term, and the importance of Jefferson not being president, c. November 8, 1796. Heavily marked and edited draft. Possibly to Jeremiah Wadsworth. 2 pp., 8 x 13 in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

“it is far less important, who of many men that may be named shall be the person, than that it shall not be Jefferson.”

Item #24639

The Only Known Document in Hamilton’s Hand on a Legal Case Involving James Reynolds

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Manuscript, c. November 1796, Notes regarding Margaret Currie, administratrix of David Currie v. James Reynolds (scire facias), 2 pp.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

There was also a prior Judgment against David Reynolds & his son James … but did not return the Execution nor sell till Wednesday the 2d of November, when James Reynolds about 6 Months ago came forward to claim these lands in virtue of a deed from his father prior to Sands mortgage.

In July 1783, James Reynolds married Maria Lewis. From mid-1791 to mid-1792, Alexander Hamilton and Maria Reynolds had an affair. In November 1792, James Reynolds was imprisoned for forgery in a scheme to purchase the pensions and pay claims of Revolutionary War soldiers. Ironically, in May 1793, Maria (represented by Aaron Burr) filed for divorce from James on the grounds of adultery; the court granted the divorce two years later. Here, after Hamilton’s affair was known to James Monroe and very few others, Hamilton was somehow involved in a legal case having to do with James Reynolds just months before news of the scandal exploded.

Item #24624

Hamilton’s Advice to Holland Land Company on a New Law Relating to New York State’s Prohibition Against Foreigners Owning Land

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Manuscript Draft, to Théophile Cazenove, c. May 19, 1796. 2+ pp.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

It is manifestly the interest of the parties concerned to avail themselves of this act. They are now intirely at the discretion of the Government....

New York adhered to the common-law prohibition against foreigners owning land. If a citizen purchased property in his own name but the money came from a foreigner, the purchaser was considered a trustee, and the State could seize the property. But Dutch investors, second only to France in their aid to America during the Revolution, invested heavily in American stocks, bonds, and western lands, working largely through their agent Théophile Cazenove.

Item #24625

Nearly Launching Several Duels Between the Livingstons and Hamilton at Federal Hall, Edward Livingston Slammed Hamilton: “Beware of Him or He Will Ruin You.”

JAMES FARQUHAR, Autograph Document Signed, with ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Note on verso (though struck out), July 21, 1795. 2 pp.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

On Saturday, July 18, 1795, a public gathering at New York’s City Hall nearly turned into a riot. News of a recently completed Treaty of Amity and Commerce with Great Britain, negotiated by John Jay and granting significant latitude to Britain, had arrived in the states. Tensions were high, and the meeting turned increasingly raucous. Hamilton attempted to defend the Treaty, but Republicans, carrying American and French flags, shouted down the former Treasury Secretary.

Item #24643

The Second Naturalization Act - Establishing Laws for Citizenship

EDMUND RANDOLPH, Document Signed as Secretary of State. An act to establish an uniform rule of naturalization; and to repeal the act heretofore passed. January 29, 1795. Philadelphia: Francis Childs. Signed in type by George Washington as President, John Adams as Vice President, and Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg as Speaker of the House of Representatives. 2 pp., 8¼ x 13½ in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

The Constitution gave Congress the right to determine the process by which foreign-born residents could obtain citizenship, and a 1790 Act of the First Congress laid out the process. This 1795 revision required all persons who wished to become naturalized citizens to go to a court to declare their intention at least three years prior to formal application. They would have to take an oath of allegiance, be a person of good moral character, agree to support the Constitution, and renounce any former sovereign and hereditary titles.

any alien, being a free white person, may be admitted to become a citizen of the United States, or any of them, on the following conditions, and not otherwise....

By limiting naturalization to “free white” persons, the early acts effectively prevented any people of color or indentured servants from gaining citizenship. Over the next century and a half, these restrictions were at first reinforced (for instance in the notorious Naturalization Act of 1798, part of the Alien and Sedition Acts, which extended the required residency period to fourteen years), but then eventually eliminated by subsequent revisions.

Item #24428.26

Hamilton’s Back-Door Implementation of His Report on Manufactures Tariff Proposals, in Jefferson-Signed Act of Congress Raising Funds to Protect the Nation’s Frontier

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Document Signed as Secretary of State. An Act for raising a farther sum of Money for the Protection of the Frontiers, and for other Purposes therein mentioned. May 2, 1792, [Philadelphia]. Signed in type by George Washington as President, Jonathan Trumbull as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Richard Henry Lee as President pro tempore of the Senate. 4 pp., 9½ x 15 in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

While Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures is now acknowledged as one of the greatest of American economic papers, Congress promptly tabled it upon delivery in December 1791. Having won the hard-fought battle for his Assumption Plan, he did not push for its adoption. But in March 1792, Congress requested ideas to raise additional revenues needed to defend the nation’s Western frontiers from British Forces and their Indian allies. Hamilton was able to answer the call for funding with the present act’s import tariffs, which boosted American manufactures.

Item #24196

The Charter for Hamilton’s “Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures”

[ALEXANDER HAMILTON], Newspaper. Gazette of the United States, September 10, 1791. Philadelphia: John Fenno. 4 pp. 10 x 16 in. Including the Charter for the Society of Useful Manufactures in full, and a report on Joseph Brant, the famous Mohawk Indian Chief.

Item #30019

An Act to Incorporate the Subscribers to the Bank of the United States

[GEORGE WASHINGTON], Newspaper. Gazette of the United States, March 2, 1791. Philadelphia: John Fenno. 4 pp. (765-768), 10½ x 17 in. Includes full text of February 25 Act to Incorporate the Subscribers to the Bank of the United States.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

“The establishment of a bank for the United States … upon the principles which afford adequate security for an upright and prudent administration.”

Item #23392

Jefferson-Signed Act of Congress Funding the Federal Government for 1791

THOMAS JEFFERSON, Document Signed as Secretary of State. An Act making appropriations for the support of government during the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety one, and for other purposes, February 11, 1791. [Philadelphia: Childs and Swaine, 1791]. Signed in type by George Washington as President, Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg as Speaker of the House of Representatives, and John Adams as Vice President and President of the Senate. 2 pp., 9¼ x 15 in. Variant of Evans 23860.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

Secretary of State Jefferson signs an Act making appropriations for the federal government in 1791. The figures cited—expenses of the “civil list” and the War Department—were taken directly from Treasury Secretary Hamilton’s Estimates for 1791 Report to the House of Representatives.

This is the only Jefferson-signed copy known in private hands. The only two known institutional copies are at the Library Company of Philadelphia and the New York Public Library.

Item #23982

The Assumption Plan, Passed as Four Acts of Congress

[ALEXANDER HAMILTON], Newspaper. Gazette of the United States, New York: John Fenno. 16 pp. Included in full, all four parts of Hamilton’s Assumption Plan, as passed by Congress, in the issues of August 7, 14, 21, and 28, 1790. (4 pp. each)

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

“Justice and the support of the public credit require, that provision should be made for fulfilling the engagements of the United States, in respect to their foreign debt, and for funding their domestic debt upon equitable and satisfactory terms.”

Item #30022.27-.30

Benjamin Franklin Calls For Abolition of Slavery, Washington Addresses the Dutch Reformed Church on Religious Freedom, Thanksgiving Thoughts, Hamilton’s Plans, and More

[BENJAMIN FRANKLIN], Newspaper. Gazette of the United States. November 25, 1789, New York, N.Y., 4 pp., (pp. 257-60), 10 x 16 in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

This important newspaper includes an October 9, 1789 letter to George Washington, with his Address responding To the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in North America discussing his gratitude for their support, thanks for the nation weathering the revolution and peacefully establishing constitutional government, and ensuring religious freedom. (p. 1, col. 3).

As well as a printing of Benjamin Franklin’s “Address to the Public from the Pennsylvania Society for promoting the Abolition of Slavery and the Relief of free Negroes unlawfully held in bondage.”

Item #23116

President George Washington Announces the Formation of the Treasury Department

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Letter Signed, September 11, 1789, to Governor Samuel Huntington of Connecticut. 1 p.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

I do myself the honor to transmit to your Excellency the duplicates of two Acts – one for establishing the Treasury department – and one for registering and clearing vessels, regulating the coasting trade, and for other purposes.

Item #24853

Hamilton Receives Money From Robert Troup, His Old Columbia College Roommate, Who Was Then Helping Hamilton Publish the Federalist Papers

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Document Signed, a receipt of £89 from Robert Troup, January 2, 1788. 1 p., 2⅜ x 7½ in.

Item #24838

Congress Begs the States for the Power to Regulate Trade and Negotiate Treaties

CHARLES THOMSON, Document Signed as Secretary of Congress. Resolutions Concerning Foreign Commerce. April 30, 1784, [Annapolis, Maryland]. 1 p., 7¾ x 12¾ in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

“The fortune of every citizen is interested in the success thereof [of trade]; for it is the constant source of wealth and incentive to industry; and the value of our produce and our land must ever rise or fall in proportion to the prosperous or adverse state of trade.…”

Item #20874

A Letter from Phocion to the Considerate Citizens of New-York, on the Politics of the Times, in Consequence of the Peace

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Pamphlet. A Letter from Phocion to the Considerate Citizens of New-York, on the Politics of the Times, in Consequence of the Peace. Philadelphia: Robert Bell, 1784. Modern green half morocco and cloth, spine gilt. One of two Philadelphia editions of this influential political tract, after the first New York printing that same year. 16 pp.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

As “Phocion,” Hamilton articulates an early incarnation of the Federalist creed, including compliance with the 1783 peace treaty with Britain, an end to attacks on Tories and Tory property, and the submission of the states to the central authority of the United States. This essay was only Hamilton’s third political tract, and the first of his mature writings on policy.

Item #24313

Hamilton Countering Biases Affecting New York Taxes

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Letter fragment, to Robert Morris, c. August 1, 1782, (heavily damaged with text loss) with many edits, from an approximately ten-page draft. The final draft, in Alexander Hamilton’s papers, dates August 13, 1782. 2 pp., 8⅜ x 10¼ in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

A previously unrecorded partial draft of Hamilton’s famous letter to Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris. Hamilton discusses the “situation and temper” of New York, and its tax plan, which was intended to be based on a fair assessment of her citizens’ circumstances and abilities to pay.

perhaps the true reason was a desire to discriminate between the whigs and tories. This chimerical attempt at perfect equality has resulted in total inequality

Item #24619
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