Happy Birthday, Alexander! January 11
January 10, 2018
Alexander Hamilton was born on the Caribbean island of Nevis on January 11. The year is in question—either 1755 or 1757. There is speculation that Alexander shifted the birth year to make him younger when he immigrated to the American mainland, so that he would be the age when most colonists entered college. By now, thanks to the brilliant Lin-Manuel Miranda, most everyone knows the life story of our first U.S. Treasury Secretary and George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolution. So I wont regurgitate it here other than to add a few links to his biography below.
I will simply thank the man for the beautiful letters he wrote—poetic, insistent, impassioned, gossipy, playful—that provided the details and insights I needed to write Peggy’s story. Most of what is known of her come from the snippets of mentions in his letters to Eliza. And they are such windows into his soul, his intellect, his bravado, his insecurities, and his profound devotion to those he loved.
This watercolor on ivory portrait was painted by Charles Wilson Peale, c. 1780. So this is the young Alexander Hamilton who wooed Eliza and reached out to Peggy in these letters:
From Alexander Hamilton to Margarita Schuyler, [February 1780]
From Alexander Hamilton to Margarita Schuyler, [21 January 1781]
And many, many more.