AFA Autumn 2019

2019 Antiques & Fine Art 111 alliance with Jefferson and a serious evolution in his rivalry with Hamilton. After 1800 Burr never won another election. In 1804 during Burr’s campaign for New York State governor, a private letter between Hamilton’s friends was published in newspapers. It stated Hamilton claimed Burr was “a dangerous man…who ought not to be trusted.” 2 Burr rarely retaliated, but, blaming Hamilton for decades of personal and political misfortunate, Burr challenged him to a duel. Duels were seldom fatal and decorum dictated they be kept private. The outcome of this one, however, outraged the nation. Hamilton’s allies shaped Burr as the murderer of a fallen hero, a reputation that would define his legacy for more than two centuries. The history surrounding Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr often focuses on the duel as an embodiment of contentious bi-partisan debate. In part because Hamilton’s wife, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, worked tirelessly for fifty years to affirm her husband’s legacy as a great writer and political mind. Burr’s daughter, Theodosia Burr Alston, strove to restore her father’s reputation, but she died young, and much of Burr’s legacy remained fixed after her death. Today, playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda challenges our narrative of this duo again. Hamilton: An American Musical rewrote our expectations of the two by recontextualizing their relationship and highlighting issues of race, immigration, and memory into the discussion. Miranda’s stage production is an exploration of Hamilton’s complex life and legacy that directs us to ask questions about who we remember and why. He, along with modern scholars and novelists, offer us an opportunity to write a new chapter to their stories. The objects shown here are among the many Hamilton- and Burr-related pieces featured in Hamilton & Burr: Who Wrote their Stories? , on view at the Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library through January 5, 2020. For information, call 800.448.3883 or visit  When this article was written, Rebecca Duffy was the Sewell C. Biggs Curatorial Fellow at Winterthur Museum, Library, and Garden in Delaware, where she curated Hamilton & Burr: Who Wrote their Stories? She is currently the education coordinator for the Read House & Gardens in New Castle, Delaware. 1. Today, one table is at Winterthur, the other is held in a private collection. 2. Charles D. Cooper, to Phillip Schuyler, April 23, 1804. Published in The Albany Register, April 24, 1804. Objects like this velvet coat inspired the costumes of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton: An American Musical. Velvet coat with silk wefts, 1780-1800. Winterthur Museum; Gift of Ann Wyeth McCoy in memory of John W. McCoy (2004.0062.001). Fig. 1a: Detail of the églomisé panel on the table illustrated in figure 1.