Book Fairs | March 2, 2018

Personal Letters and Rare Documents From the Alexander Hamilton Collection Featured at NY Antiquarian Book Fair

Hamilton Hair with Seal w.jpgNew York City - Here on display are the bold and innovative ideas of the American Revolution and Founding, shown through official and personal letters, reports, and documents of its central players detailing the flashes of genius, passions, & foibles of our founding fathers.

“Deciding what highlights to exhibit out of the 1,100 plus documents in The Alexander Hamilton Collection was a tortuous process,” related Seth Kaller. A leading collection-builder and dealer in rare historic documents based in White Plains, N.Y., Mr Kaller has been in the history business since 1989. Documents he acquired for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History are being used in 12,000 schools.

Making the cut for exhibit at booth A40 at the INTERNATIONAL ANTIQUARIAN BOOK FAIR, MARCH 8-11 at the PARK AVENUE ARMORY:

?? A very rare July 8, 1776 Declaration of Independence imprint - the first book printing - bound with a very early copy of Common Sense.

            The first printing of the Declaration in book form, bound together with other significant pamphlets of the American Revolution compiled by Thomas Paine. The first owner, Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, served as Aide-de-camp to the French at Yorktown.

?? One of Hamilton’s most revealing love letters to Eliza 

            He writes, “You are certainly a little sorceress…and have rendered me as restless and unsatisfied with all about me, as if I was an inhabitant of another world.”

            According to Kaller, he’s seen all kinds of people look at this letter and start singing Lin Manuel Miranda’s lyrics -“I have never been satisfied…”.

?? George Washington’s letter transmitting Act Establishing the Treasury 

            On the same day that Washington signed this letter, September 11, 1789, he nominated Hamilton to lead the new department. Remarkably, the Senate confirmed on the very same day.

?? Hamilton’s financial plans, founding Acts of Congress, the Bill of Rights

?? A document signed by Hamilton and Eliza and Angelica and a dozen other Schuyler sisters, brothers, cousins, in-laws, and even father General Philip Schuyler 

?? A rare first edition of the Reynolds Pamphlet, with a scarce second edition printed by Hamilton’s enemies

The Reynold’s Pamphlet, which exposes Hamilton’s adultery, is also in the exhibit.

            Copies of this first edition are very rare, as Eliza reportedly burned all she could find.

 ?? letters and documents of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, Aaron Burr, the Schuyler Sisters & Brothers & patriarch, John Hancock, every signer of the U.S. Constitution, and more.

?? After he left the Treasury to return to the practice of law, Hamilton’s bill for representing the government in the very first Supreme Court Judicial Review case, Hyland v. United States.

            Marbury v Madison was the first Supreme Court Judicial Review that declared a law (ironically, part of the Judiciary Act) unconstitutional. So, why isn’t the earlier Hyland v United States case as well-known? Because Hamilton won; the court affirmed the constitutionality of the carriage tax. With Hamilton no longer around to defend it, the Hyland interpretation was overturned 99 years later, but then was effectively reinstated by Constitutional Amendment.

?? A lock of Hamilton’s hair, preserved in his family for generations; a unique ivory miniature; a stunning memorial painted and drawn by a student shortly after his death.

Mr. Kaller talks about the relevance today of these two hundred-year old documents:

“While our current government seems definitionally incapable of analysis, Alexander Hamilton provided our finest example of the opposite: he could see both the big picture and the gritty details of cost benefit analysis. In impossible situations, he came up with a plan that sought to use the least bad options, and then he executed as well as anyone possibly could have.”

Weighing the differences between Jefferson and Hamilton, Kaller adds, “While many gave their lives fighting for the ideals that Jefferson expounded in the Declaration, without a Hamilton to make the experiment work, the nascent Federal Government would likely have met the same fate as prior attempts at republican government.”

Kaller is hopeful that the original documents of the founders will provide lessons for today: “By looking back, we often can find the way forward. The Founding Fathers were able to transcend their personal flaws and political conflicts to lay the groundwork for our great nation.”

The Alexander Hamilton Collection: The Story of the American Revolution and Founding, is being offered for sale by Mr. Kaller, intact, for $3.8 million. A detailed catalog can be found at (the valuable domain name is included in the offer).

Interested parties may call Mr. Kaller at (914) 289-1776, or e-mail him at