Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown has received funding for new programs and a publication based on 35 letters between American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr – the man who killed him in a duel in 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. Continue reading
She’s the woman who dueled with Aaron Burr and won. Move over Alexander Hamilton. The life of Eliza Jumel is a tale about a woman who pulled hard on her Yankee bootstraps to make good on the American dream.
Margaret Oppenheimer’s splendid book, The Remarkable Rise of Eliza Jumel: Marriage and Money in the Early Republic (Chicago Review Press, 2015), takes readers along on a tale of intrigue, scandal and innuendo. Far from a steamy beach read featuring men in white wigs, this meticulously-researched tale paints a detailed and scholarly portrait of New York City and the way in which the city’s growth provided fertile ground for the ambitions of its heroine. Continue reading
Artist Camilla Huey has a close to the skin interpretation of founding father Aaron Burr. While we know about his schemes to gain and keep political power, Huey tempts us to think about Burr’s gender politics. Was the former Vice-President who shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel, a full-fledged Lothario, or might there be another story?
The film “The Loves of Aaron Burr: Portraits in Binding and Corsetry” premiering at Symphony Space at 95th St. and Broadway in Manhattan on Saturday, November 14 at noon offers a much more complicated and nuanced view of the man and his significant female others. As Thomas Paine wrote in that revolutionary era “If we take a survey of the countries and the ages… we will find the women adored and oppressed. Man who has never neglected an opportunity of exerting his power, in paying homage to their beauty has always availed himself of their weakness… at once their tyrant and their slave.” Continue reading
Who remembers Aaron Burr as anything more than Quick Draw McGraw shooting down the near-sighted Alexander Hamilton at dawn in 1804? But there is much more to the man, as Gore Vidal revealed in his intriguing 1973 historical novel, and other subsequent scholarship.
Two aspects of Burr’s varied career stand out in today’s world. First, his treason trial that closely examined issues of what counts as an act of war against one’s own government. And second, his relationships with a series of highly intelligent and accomplished women, reflecting his high opinion of the female sex and its potential. Continue reading
During the Revolutionary War, Alexander Hamilton served as an artillery captain and later a colonel and trusted aid to General George Washington. Colonel Aaron Burr also served in the Colonial Army and accompanied Benedict Arnold on his march through the Maine wilderness and his failed attempt to capture Quebec. Burr had been with General Richard Montgomery when Montgomery was shot and killed in Quebec. Later in the war, Burr was placed in charge of a regiment and his troops were stationed in Westchester County, New York. Continue reading