Fenimore Art Museum has recently published a fully illustrated book based on the museum’s collection of documents pertaining to the life and death of founding father, Alexander Hamilton, focusing predominantly on a collection of thirty-five letters exchanged between Hamilton, Aaron Burr, and their seconds leading up to their fatal duel on July 11, 1804. These documents, although familiar to historians, have remained largely unknown to the public until recently when they were brought to light in the song Your Obedient Servant from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton. Ten of the most significant letters are presented in pictorial form for the first time, alongside their transcriptions.
The book, authored by Douglas Ambrose, PhD, the Carolyn C. and David M. Ellis ’38 Distinguished Teaching Professor of History at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, provides a close look at one of America’s most elusive founding fathers and a better understanding of how our democracy functioned in its infancy–enhancing awareness of how it works today.
The publication was made possible through the generosity of The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, Long Island, New York. Philanthropist Stephen Clark bought the letters for the museum in the 1950s.
Cover photo credit: Richard Walker