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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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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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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
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