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Alexander Hamilton papers

Identifier: MS 1301


This collection consists of materials relating to Alexander Hamilton’s (d. 1799) work in the tobacco trade between Maryland and Glasgow, Scotland.


  • 1760-1800


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.

Biographical Note

Alexander Hamilton, born in Mauchline, Ayrshire, Scotland to John and Jacobina Young Hamilton, worked as a tobacco merchant in Port Tobacco and Piscataway, Maryland for Glasgow, Scotland-based trading firms. He served several firms operated by the “Tobacco Lords” of Glasgow, including those of James Brown, John Brown, and John Glassford, for which he purchased tobacco from Maryland growers to be sold across Europe. Glasgow became a major trade hub with the Americas, because of its location on the River Clyde and the trade winds blowing off the Atlantic Ocean, which allowed ships to reach the city quicker than other ports in Europe.

The Revolutionary War disrupted tobacco trade for both growers and purchasers, but Hamilton was able to negotiate the rough waters for James Brown and Co. He had his employees enlist in the militia and pledge allegiance to the colonies. Hamilton, himself, however, did not, in case the British were victorious. After the war, he continued to work in Prince George’s County for James Brown and Co. He died in 1799.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



The Alexander Hamilton Papers are organized chronologically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition


Scope and Contents

The Alexander Hamilton Papers is primarily comprised of letters from James Lawson to Hamilton, which discuss the tobacco trade between Maryland and Glasgow, Scotland. They address issues with the sale and constant fluctuation of price of tobacco and business debts owed and paid. The letters also deal with Hamilton’s struggle with John Semple over money owed to his father’s estate. The earlier letters from Lawson also allude to the growing tension between the American colonies and Great Britain. Other materials in the collection represent Hamilton’s take over of John Glassford’s American store and his work with Robert Fergusson, a fellow tobacco buying agent.

Guide to the Alexander Hamilton papers
In Progress
Lara Westwood
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Revision Statements

  • 2019-11-22: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Sandra Glascock .

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States