Alexander Hamilton, an orphaned immigrant from the Caribbean, acted as George Washington’s top aide in the American Revolution, created the American financial system, and waged ideological battles against Thomas Jefferson in the earliest days of American political parties. His vision, ambition, and voluminous writings inspired his admirers, enflamed his opponents, and continue to captivate contemporary audiences. In this exhibition, The New York Public Library presents a selection of its holdings to illuminate the many facets of Alexander Hamilton—a striver, statesman, and scoundrel.
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June 24th, 2016 - December 31st, 2016 Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
From the Exhibition
When George Washington stepped down in 1796, after serving two terms, he sought Alexander Hamilton’s assistance in writing a farewell address to a nation that had never known another leader. Washington sent Hamilton a draft by James Madison. However, Hamilton also collaborated with Washington on a different version, one that was ultimately published, and recommended measured neutrality in foreign affairs and warned against national factionalism.
Resources for Educators
View, download, and print the official exhibition brochure, or pick up a printed version when you visit the exhibition. If you're an educator planning a field trip to the exhibition, we hope you'll use the brochure in pre- or post-visit lesson plans.
Featured Blog Post
The tense New York State elections of 1800, as seen through the diary of Elizabeth De Hart Bleecker.
Hamilton's New York
Showing promise at a young age, and having lost his mother to a tropical illness, Alexander Hamilton was sent from his home in the Caribbean to study in America. There, he helped found a new nation while building a life for himself in New York. Here are several key places in the life of a striver, statesman, and scoundrel.
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Support for The New York Public Library's Exhibitions Program has been provided by Celeste Bartos, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos Exhibitions Fund, and Jonathan Altman. Additional support for this exhibition has been provided by the Bertha and Isaac Liberman Foundation, Inc., in memory of Ruth and Seymour Klein.
Digitization of the Early American Collection was made possible by a lead gift from the Polonsky Foundation.