While his famous duel with Aaron Burr, a political rival and the sitting vice president, was only a part of the larger exhibition, his demise was made especially poignant in letters and artifacts. Included was an issue of the Albany Register, which published letters, allegedly by Hamilton, criticizing Burr as “a dangerous man...not to be trusted.” Also on display was Burr’s written challenge, June 27, 1804, and two last letters from Hamilton to his wife Eliza, explaining that his honor was at stake and that he saw no honorable way of avoiding a duel with Burr.
Of special interest were the dueling pistols, on loan from Chase Manhattan Bank. These were the same weapons that Hamilton’s son, Philip, had used in a duel two years earlier. In the hands of their adversaries, these guns took the lives of both father and son.