Don’t Throw Away Your Shot: Hamilton at the BPL

As Hamilton: An American Musical plays in Boston, you can also learn about Alexander Hamilton at the Boston Public Library. On Wednesday, October 17, historian Margaret Newell is coming to the Central Library to talk about the life of the founding father. The program is happening in Rabb Hall at 6:00 PM. You can find out more about it here.

With the Hamilton buzz taking over the city, this is the perfect time to explore the library for Alexander Hamilton materials.

Do you know the library has a Revolutionary War Manuscripts collection? It is located in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department, which is currently closed for renovations. Luckily, many items have been digitized. They are on the Internet Archive and the Digital Commonwealth, and you can view them on your computer without leaving home.

The beginning of the letter reads, "…have receiv'd advice this evening from the Continental Congress, that they have appointed Col. Washington General of your army…" The letter continues to discuss the transition that will occur following George Washington’s appointment.
“Extract of a letter about General Washington's appointment as Commander in Chief [manuscript],” Rare Books and Manuscripts Department, Boston Public Library
One example is this letter from 1775. The contents of this letter took place before the song “Right Hand Man” in the musical. The beginning of the letter reads, "…have receiv'd advice this evening from the Continental Congress, that they have appointed Col. Washington General of your army…" The letter continues to discuss the transition that will occur following George Washington’s appointment.

 

Plan of the Siege of Yorktown, 1781, map
“Plan of the Siege of Yorktown, 1781,” Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, Boston Public Library

Another item is this map, which is held in the Leventhal Map Center. “Plan of the Siege of Yorktown, 1781” shows where the troops and camps were located during the battle of Yorktown. This takes place occurs during the song “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” in the musical. The colors on the map represent different armies: blue is American, yellow is French, and red is British. You can even see General Washington’s camp at the bottom next to Count Rochambeau.

 

If you still can’t get enough Hamilton after this, check out this book list with recommendations based on songs from the musical:

Hamilton: An American Musical List created by BostonPL_BeverlyG

The Hamilton soundtrack is available through the BPL. Place a hold on the CD or stream it digitally through hoopla.

Song: Alexander Hamilton - The book that started it all. Hamilton's creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, based the musical on this biography by Ron Chernow.

View Full List

 

The author of this post is BeverlyG, a Research Services Librarian at the Central Library. 

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