Groundbreaking traveling exhibition about Alexander Hamilton comes to UGL Feb. 26 - April 1

February 25, 2009

His face is on the $10 bill, but most Americans know more about his death in a duel than his remarkable life as one of the most brilliant and influential figures in U.S. history. Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), the first U.S. secretary of the treasury, is the focus of a new exhibition at the David Adamany Undergraduate Library from Feb. 26 to April 1.

"Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America" tells the story of Hamilton's astonishing rise in five short years from an orphaned, 15-year-old West Indies immigrant to George Washington's war time aide, and later, at age 32, Washington's secretary of the treasury. Hamilton was a complex and controversial figure-a Revolutionary War patriot and soldier, financial and legal genius and an ardent opponent of slavery. He was the chief architect of many of the financial, political and legal institutions so familiar to Americans today.

An opening ceremony for the exhibit will begin at 1 p.m. March 3 in the Undergraduate Library atrium with remarks by Denver Brunsman, assistant professor in Wayne State's history department. On March 9, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Distinguished Law Professor Robert Sedler will lecture on "Alexander Hamilton, our 18th Century Constitution and Modern America."

"Alexander Hamilton: The Man Who Made Modern America" was organized by the New-York Historical Society, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the American Library Association, and has been made possible in part through a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. It is based on the New-York Historical Society's exhibition commemorating the 200th anniversary of Hamilton's death as well as the 200th anniversary of the founding of the society in 1804.

"More than any of his peers, Hamilton shaped and prefigured the America we now live in," says Richard Brookhiser, historian and Hamilton biographer. "When you cash a paycheck or vote for president, follow the war against
terrorism or criticize the government, read a newspaper or sit next to someone of a different race on the subway, you are doing something that he foresaw and helped to make happen."

"We are delighted to have been selected as a site for this exhibition," said Sandra Yee, dean of the Wayne State Library System. "Alexander Hamilton was a fascinating figure in the early history of the United States, but we know too little about his contributions."

For more information, contact Cindy Krolikowski, Wayne State librarian, at (313) 577-3311 or e-mail

The Wayne State University Library System consists of the university's five libraries: The David Adamany Undergraduate Library, the Purdy/Kresge Library, the Shiffman Medical Library, the Arthur Neef Law Library and the Science and Engineering Library, the Library and Information Science Program and the Office for Teaching and Learning.

Wayne State University is a premier institution of higher education offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 31,000 students.