2124
2124
(Alexander Hamilton) 
A GROUP OF AUTOGRAPH LETTERS RELATED TO HAMILTON'S BIOGRAPHY, VARIOUS AUTHORS AND RECIPIENTS
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2124
(Alexander Hamilton) 
A GROUP OF AUTOGRAPH LETTERS RELATED TO HAMILTON'S BIOGRAPHY, VARIOUS AUTHORS AND RECIPIENTS
前往

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Fine Manuscript and Printed Americana

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(Alexander Hamilton) 
A GROUP OF AUTOGRAPH LETTERS RELATED TO HAMILTON'S BIOGRAPHY, VARIOUS AUTHORS AND RECIPIENTS
9 letters, various sheet sizes, totalling 15 pages, by William Baylies (2), Elizabeth Hamilton (2), James A. Hamilton (1), John Church Hamilton (2), Gulian C. Verplanck (1); some splits to holds, one or two tears where wax seal affixed, generally not affecting text.

Autograph letter signed ("Elizth Hamilton"), New York, 8 December 1829, to Francis Baylies, regarding progress on an Alexander Hamilton biography, and Elizabeth's efforts to search out addition papers. — Autograph letter signed ("James A Hamilton"), New York, 24 February 1830, to Frances Bayliss, requesting a copy of an extract from a letter from Alexander Hamilton to Judge Sedgwick. — Autograph letter signed ("G. C. Verplanck"), to Francis Baylies, 3 November 1830, regarding a letter from Rudolph Bunner (with a copy of the Bunner letter in question in Verplanck's hand. — Autograph letter signed ("Wm. Baylies"), West Bridgewater [Mass.], 26 March 1832, to Elizabeth Hamilton, on locating the papers of Alexander Hamilton once in the possession of Francis Baylies — Autograph letter signed ("E. Hamilton"), New York, 30 March 1832, to William Baylies, enquiring after missing books int he possession of Francis Baylies. — Autograph letter signed ("Jno C Hamilton"), New York, 17 May 1832, to William Baylies, outlining the state of disarray in which Francis Baylies has left Hamilton's papers, and the matter of missing papers. — Autograph letter singed ("Jno C Hamilton"), New York, 25 May 1832, to William Baylies, apologizing for his previous letter, and informing Baylies that the papers presumed missing and in his possession were, in fact, found by his mother in a drawer. — Autograph letter signed ("W.B"), West Bridgewater [Mass.], 27 May 1832, to John C. Hamilton, regarding the matter if missing papers being in his the possession of his brother [Francis]. 


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For decades after her husband’s death, Elizabeth Hamilton tried to get anyone to write a biography of Alexander Hamilton based on his papers. At least five authors agreed to write a biography. Timothy Pickering died in 1829 before he could begin. Francis Hawks published the first volume of a projected multi-volume edition of Hamilton’s works before quitting the project. James M. Mason, Joseph Hopkinson, and Francis Baylies dropped out, in part due to interference from Eliza and her children.

The present archive illuminates Elizabeth and John Hamilton’s efforts to work with Francis Baylies on the biography project between 1829 and 1832. In the earliest letter present in this group, Elizabeth Hamilton writes ti Francis Baylies:  

"I learn with pleasure the progress you have made in the Biography, and it will give me great gratification, to see you in New York for the purposes you mention. As to the Desiderata of which you speak, the only Documents, we have ever possessed, are those contained in Holts paper, and the two pamphlets, written in reply to Mr Wilkins..."

Although it appears from the correspondence that Baylies completed a partial draft, it is not known to have survived and was never published. Eliza next turned to her son John Church Hamilton, who published a two-volume biography of his father in 1840. Unfortunately, nearly all copies were destroyed in a fire during the binding process. On April 20, 1846, the United States Senate’s Library Committee reported its decision to authorize an allowance to Elizabeth Hamilton to print one thousand copies of his collected writings for the public benefit. The Senate approved the expenditure, and John Church Hamilton edited an authorized collection of his father’s writings, published in seven volumes in 1850-1851. Between 1857 and 1864, the younger Hamilton also published The Life of Alexander Hamilton in seven volumes, combining a biography of his father with a history of the United States traced through the writings of Hamilton and his contemporaries.

Fine Manuscript and Printed Americana

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