A display of rare items exploring the life of Aaron Burr – said to be the most comprehensive portrayal of the complicated Founding Father – is on exhibit at the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library galleries of the Richard Russell Building.
“The Man Who Killed Hamilton: Defending Aaron Burr through the books, manuscripts, pamphlets and historic objects from the collection of Brian Davon Hardison” will be on view through January.
Collected by Atlanta lawyer Brian Hardison since the 1990s, the assortment of rare books, pamphlets, newspapers, manuscripts, previously unpublished signed letters, art and relics seek to shed light on Burr, whose reputation was tarnished by his fatal duel with Alexander Hamilton and his choice of exile in Europe rather than to defend himself. Many of the items relate to Burr’s contemporaries such as George Washington, Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson and Benedict Arnold.
Vice president under Jefferson, Burr distinguished himself during the American Revolution and went on to become an influential lawmaker, albeit one whose legacy is overshadowed by political disputes and sensationalized versions of his infamous duel with Hamilton.