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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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One of the Earliest Printings of the Declaration of Independence - July 8, 1776, Bound with a Very Rare Copy of the Most Complete Printing of Common Sense

[THOMAS PAINE], Robert Bell’s “complete” edition of Common Sense, made up from pamphlets first sold independently. Common Sense; with the Whole Appendix: The Address to the Quakers: Also, the Large Additions, and a Dialogue between the Ghost of General Montgomery, just arrived from the Elysian fields; and an American Delegate in a Wood, near Philadelphia: On the Grand Subject of American Independancy. [Second title:] Common Sense; Addressed to the Inhabitants of America … Third edition. [Third title:] Large Additions to Common Sense. … II. The Propriety of Independancy, by Demophilus. … An Appendix to Common Sense. [Fourth title:] A Dialogue between the Ghost of General Montgomery, Just arrived from the Elysian Fields; and an American Delegate in a Wood near Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Printed, and Sold, by R. Bell, 1776. 8vo in half-sheets, general half-title, U3 with ads and Bell’s statement “Self-defence against unjust attacks”; natural paper flaw in lower blank margin of final leaf. (Gimbel CS-9; Evans 14966; Adams, American Independence 222e).

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

This is likely the finest copy extant of the first book printing of the Declaration of Independence, preserved with other significant pamphlets of the American Revolution, including the best early edition of Common Sense. The Declaration was printed immediately following The Genuine Principles of the Ancient Saxon, or English Constitution… By Demophilus, which was already in the press. The terminal ad leaf dates it to July 8, 1776. Bound together with five separately issued pamphlets, possibly compiled by Thomas Paine.

From the library of Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1755–1824), with press-mark of his library at the château de La Brède. He was a grandson of the famous enlightenment philosopher, and son of a founder of Freemasonry in France (along with Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin). Charles-Louis corresponded with Franklin and served as aide-de-camp to the Comte de Rochambeau and the Marquis de Chastellux. After fighting at Yorktown, he was among the delegation sent to inform the King of France of the victory. Accompanied by the statement on the provenance of the book by Charles-Henry de Montesquieu, a descendant). Sold at Sotheby’s June 19, 2015.

The Declaration was first printed by John Dunlap, the official printer to the Continental Congress, as a broadside on the evening of July 4 into the morning of July 5, 1776. The text next appeared in the July 6 issue of The Pennsylvania Evening Post, and on July 8th in Dunlap’s own newspaper, The Pennsylvania Packet, or General Advertiser.

Genuine Principles was already on the press when Dunlap’s broadside appeared. Bell quickly added a new gathering to accommodate the Declaration, and a stirring introduction: “The events which have given birth to this mighty revolution; and will vindicate the provisions that shall be wisely made against our ever again relapsing into a state of bondage and misery, cannot be better set forth than in the following Declaration of American Independence.

On the final leaf, the advertisement dated July 8th announces Bell’s next publication, “In a few days,” of American Independence the Interest and Glory of Great Britain. (A copy of John Cartwright’s anonymous pamphlet is bound in the present volume).

Advertisements in the July 9th issue of the Pennsylvania Evening Post and the July 10th issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette for Genuine Principles say that it was “just printed, published and now selling by Robert Bell.” Bell’s printing is not simply the first book printing of the Declaration; it is one of the earliest printings overall—and one of the rarest.

In a way, this Declaration imprint is even more “original” than the signed Declaration manuscript. This is the July 4th Declaration, not yet Unanimous. The engrossed manuscript was prepared only after New York’s legislature heard the news, and then voted to join the other 12 colonies. The “National Treasure” document was prepared, and the signers added their “John Hancocks” in August.

The first pamphlet in this sammelband is Robert Bell’s “complete” edition of Common Sense, made up from very rare pamphlets sold independently, with the text that Paine gave first to another printer after Bell claimed he was losing money selling a pamphlet that was as hot a ticket as HAMILTON.

Item #24865

John Hancock Helps Build Washington’s Army and Appoints a Captain

JOHN HANCOCK, Partially Printed Document Signed as President of the Continental Congress. [Philadelphia, PA] July 1, 1775. Counter-signed by Charles Thomson. 1 p., folio.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

The Continental Congress had appointed George Washington as Commander in Chief of the newly-formed Continental Army on June 15, only two weeks before this document. Hancock, as president of the Continental Congress, began raising troops and officers for the war effort. Here, he appoints Stephen Kimball at the rank of Captain in the 14th Regiment of the Continental Army. The 14th, commanded by Col. Daniel Hitchcock, was part of the Rhode Island militia. The unit, which included some African American soldiers, went to Boston to fight under General Nathanael Greene. Later, incorporated into the Continental Army, it saw action in the Battle of Long Island and at White Plains.

Item #24001

Powerful Anti-Slavery Argument Likely by John Laurens

ANTIBIASTES, Newspaper. “Observations on the slaves and the Indentured Servants inlisted in the Army…” Front page printing, in the Boston Gazette and Country Journal, October 13, 1777. Boston: Benjamin Edes. 4 pp., 10 x 15½ in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

Many Slaves …share in the dangers and glory of the efforts made by US, the freeborn members of the United States, to enjoy, undisturbed, the common rights of human nature; and THEY remain SLAVES!... The enlightened equity of a free people, cannot suffer them to be ungrateful.

Item #24438

For Washington, Hamilton Confirms Receipt of Hessian Troop Movement Intelligence

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Letter Signed, on behalf of General George Washington, to Colonel Charles Stewart, Commissary General of Issues, October 24, 1777, Headquarters [Whitpain Township, Pa]. 1p. with integral address leaf note, “Let the Bearer pass. Tim. Pickering Adjt. Genl.,” 13 x 8¼ in. (open).

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

Following the punishing battles at Paoli and Germantown, which left Philadelphia vulnerable to British control for the winter, the Continental Army under Washington spent two weeks recovering at Whitpain, Pennsylvania.

Alexander Hamilton was then Washington’s chief staff aide, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, a position he would hold for four years. He played a crucial role in handling much of the General’s correspondence with Congress, state governors, and other military officers.

Item #24375

One of Hamilton’s Most Revealing Love Letters to Eliza:
“You are certainly a little sorceress and have bewitched me”

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Letter Signed “A. Hamilton,” to Elizabeth Schuyler, August 8, 1780. [Dobbs Ferry, New York]. 4 pp. including partial integral leaf; lacking portion of page below signature; perhaps his signature on address relief was removed. 6½ x 8½ in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

“you have made me disrelish every thing that used to please me, and have rendered me as restless and unsatisfied with all about me, as if I was the inhabitant of another world. ... I would go on, but the General summons me to ride....”

In the middle of their whirlwind courtship, Hamilton emphasizes his profound fascination with Eliza Schuyler. Hamilton both complains that she is distracting him from important military duties, while pleading with her for more distraction. Few of Hamilton’s letters to Eliza survive from this period.

As Hamilton was writing, tactical intelligence was being communicated at a frantic pace up and down the Hudson. On July 21, Washington had received intelligence from the Culper spy ring on British General Clinton’s planned attack on Rochambeau’s French squadron at Newport, and the massing of British troops on Long Island for an intensified invasion of New York. Hamilton now was in the middle of authoring a detailed “Plan for an Attack on New York” to recapture Manhattan and Brooklyn from the British. He mentions at the end of this letter his position at Dobbs Ferry, New York, a small town on the Hudson where the army was encamped. Hamilton ends when he is summoned by General Washington.

Item #24329

After Yorktown Victory, Samuel Huntington Congratulates French Foreign Minister

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, Draft Autograph Letter, to Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes, Minister of France, November 7, 1781, Norwich, Connecticut. On laid paper watermarked “I Taylor.” 2 pp., 8 x 13¼ in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

The conduct of Count de Grasse so far as it hath come to my knowledge charms me; his drupping the British fleet sufficient to Convince teach them they might not & could to keep at due distance & not enter the Cheasapeake or again attempt to Interrupt the siege, & at the same time not suffering himself to be too far diverted from his first & main object…

Item #24776

Washington’s End-Game: Pushing Southern States to Keep Pressure Up for Honorable Peace

GEORGE WASHINGTON, Circular Letter Signed, to Benjamin Harrison, December 19, 1781, Philadelphia. Text in the hand of Tench Tilghman, with two edits by Washington. 4 pp., 8 x 13 in.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

Two months after the British surrender at Yorktown, Washington urged the governor of Virginia to ensure that his state meets the quota of troops mandated by Congress. Similar letters were sent to the Governors of Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. We locate only two other signed copies of this circular letter, one of which is in an institution.

the critical and dangerous situation to which all the southern States were reduced, was owing to the want of a sufficient regular force to oppose to that of the Enemy…. Happily the Scene is changed, and a moment is allowed us to rectify our past errors… But the greatest encouragement to a vigorous preparation is, that it will be the most likely method of gaining new Allies and forcing Great Britain into a negociation, which we have every reason to suppose would end in a peace honorable to the interests and views of America.

Item #24417

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

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

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

Hamilton Defends a British Merchant Sued for Wartime Use of a Patriot’s Property During the British Occupation of New York City

ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Autograph Manuscript fragment of draft of legal plea in Tucker v. Thompson, c. May 1784, 3 pp.

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Available as part of The Alexander Hamilton Collection

The Barrack Master General...gave his license and permission to the said Henry...a British Merchant under the protection of the said army and who from the time of his birth at all times since hath been and still is a subject of the said King of Great Britain…”

Item #24626

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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
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