Alexander Hamilton's letters to be auctioned in NYC Javier Munoz, who plays Alexander Hamilton in the Broadway musical, "Hamilton," reacts as he looks at a document, part of a trove of artifacts and letters written by or pertaining to one of America's founding fathers, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, at Sotheby's in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Alexander Hamilton's letters to be auctioned in NYC
Lexile

Assign to Google Classroom

The hottest Broadway show is shining its spotlight on a collection of historic American documents: Alexander Hamilton's letters, being auctioned at Sotheby's.
 
Hamilton is one of America's founding fathers. He died in 1804.
 
Javier Munoz, who plays him in the Broadway musical, got teary-eyed Jan. 10 as he held the only known letter from Hamilton's son Philip to the man addressed as "Papa." The son asks his father for advice on a written presentation, noting that his mentor had deleted a sentence Hamilton liked best.
 
"I'm overwhelmed," said Munoz, who held the delicate old piece of paper unprotected, asking permission to flip it over. "It's sort of like walking into someone's apartment and looking at the desk where they work. And that's so revealing about how their mind works."
 
Dozens of the letters penned by one of the nation's founding fathers will go on the block Jan. 18, with an estimated worth starting at $1.4 million and topping $2 million. But Sotheby's expects the feverish interest in the megahit "Hamilton" likely will drive prices up.
 
The most valuable item of the auction, estimated at $300,000 to $500,000, is one of Hamilton's "Pacificus" essays probing a contentious issue - George Washington's declaration of his nation's neutrality in the conflict between France and Great Britain.
 
"This is a unique conjunction of historical material with the popular zeitgeist," said Selby Kiffer, the auction house's expert on books and manuscripts. "I have not experienced anything like this before."
 
The designer of the show's sets, David Korins, also created parts of Sotheby's Americana exhibit space that includes the kind of furniture and art that surrounded Hamilton in his daily life.
 
Above the displays, Korins strung bungee-like tension cords in red, white and blue as links leading visitors around, reflecting the threads of an American flag.
 
Munoz said that reading Hamilton's private thoughts on everything from his love life and political career to war and even gardening will have a deep effect on his performance, especially details that don't appear on Broadway.
 
"Part of the awe for me is how casual so much of this is," said Munoz, who with Korins giggled as they pored over one letter in which Hamilton writes flirtatious words to his sister-in-law, Angelica Church.
 
People expect every word and letter of such manuscripts to be lifted to historical dimensions, Munoz said, "meanwhile, it's like, 'hey, how are you?' - you know, like my tweet to somebody, or I just texted my mom."
 
The letters belong to Hamilton's descendants.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 62 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why are these letters so revealing?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (75)
  • juanp-pay
    1/20/2017 - 09:48 a.m.

    the letters are revealing because, some of the letters he wrote were to family members like his son and that allows people an insight to Alexander Hamilton's personal/private life.

    how much you think Hamilton's papers will sell for?
    I think Hamilton's papers will sell for a couple million dollars tops 5 millions.

  • yazena-pay
    1/20/2017 - 09:53 a.m.

    I believe that the Hamilton Papers will sell for at least 300,000 dollars, due to the fact they are a rare and somewhat historical item so they can go for a lot of money in my opinion.

  • fedayb-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:00 a.m.

    These letters are revealing because literature often reveals the many aspects of a person's thoughts and their brain in general. Referring to the article,"Munoz said that reading Hamilton's private thoughts on everything from his love life and political career to war and even gardening will have a deep effect on his performance, especially details that don't appear on Broadway." This excerpt shows that only a personal form of writing such as Hamilton's letter can reveal the deepest parts of a person. Even the format of a person's penmanship can be quite revealing of a person's brain functions.

  • jordanc-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:02 a.m.

    these letters are so reavealing because it shows secrets uncovered and also teach lesson but in a way that he can understand the thoughts of the founding fathers as munoz s "It's sort of like walking into someone's apartment and looking at the desk where they work. And that's so revealing about how their mind works."

  • brianar-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:02 a.m.

    These letters are only revealing because it shows the thought process of the founding fathers. For example, Munoz says ,"It's sort of like walking into someone's apartment and looking at the desk where they work. And that's so revealing about how their mind works." This explains how important or in depth these letters are.

  • courtneyb-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:03 a.m.

    These letter are so revealing because they show the thought process of the Founding Fathers.Just like Munoz exclaimed, "It's sort of like walking into someone's apartment and looking at the desk where they work. And that's so revealing about how their mind works." It shows what life was like back then and how they may have interpreted it.

  • addeac-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:03 a.m.

    Hamilton's papers will likely sell for $100,000-$500,000 given that the most valuable piece of literature from him will likely range from from $300,000-$500,000. Collectively, they will add up to about 2 million dollars.

  • abigailt-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:03 a.m.

    The letters are so revealing because it gives insight to what life was like to American political people. Back in the old days writing to Americans were an outlet for people to express there thoughts and feelings and to set a legacy for the future.

  • rashaunw-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:03 a.m.

    the letter is so reveling because the later was so detailed; that if you really get in to debt of the letter its like waking in the writers house looking at his work desk and understanding how their mind works.

  • kennyad-pay
    1/20/2017 - 10:04 a.m.

    These letters are so revealing because it shows how Hamilton viewed the world and how he texted his sister in law in ways that wasn't appropriate. It showed that even as a founding father Hamilton was like everyone else. Casual.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT