Notes & Bibliography


Re-edited and added to from Jonathan Ned Katz, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. (NY: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1976, p. 452-456).

1.  John Chester Miller, Alexander Hamilton: A Portrait in Paradox (NY: Harper & Row, 1959), page 22. Jonathan Ned Katz thanks Bill Chalson for informing him of this reference and of Hamilton's "love letters" to other soldiers in the American Revolutionary Army. It should be noted that Damon and Pythias are constantly referred to in history of homosexual literature, and that some of Plutarch's heroes participated in same-sex sexual intimacies. See, for example, John Addington Symonds, A Problem in Greek Ethics (many editions.)

2.  Alexander Hamilton, The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Harold C. Syrett, assoc. ed. Jacob E. Cooke (N.Y.: Columbia University, 1961), vol. 2, p. 34. The letters or words in brackets are those added by Hamilton's editors. See Hamilton Papers for footnotes which have been omitted from the present text. In reference to the present letter, the editors note that at some points Hamilton's words have been crossed out so that it is impossible to decipher them. At the top of the first manuscript page, a penciled note, presumably written by John C. Hamilton, Hamilton’s son, and an early editor of his papers, reads: "I must not publish the whole of this." J. C. Hamilton is the editor of The Works of Alexander Hamilton (N.Y.: 1851) which omits the part of Hamilton's letter beginning "And Now my Dear." Also see Allan McLane Hamilton, The Intimate Life of Alexander Hamilton (London: Duckworth, 1910), p. 241-42.

3. Jonathan Ned Katz, "Alexander Hamilton's Nose." The Advocate, October 10, 1988, page 29.

4. Hamilton Papers, vol. 2, p. 37-38. The word "intercourse" may be a playful double meaning.

5. Hamilton Papers, vol. 2, p. 165.

6  Hamilton Papers, vol. 2, p. 347-48.↑

7. Hamilton Papers, vol. 2, p. 432.

8. Hamilton Papers, vol. 3, p. 145. Among the modern responses to the above letters, here is an entry on Laurens, on Wikipedia, accessed November 4, 2010: Modern perspectives. There are . . . modern reports circulated that John Laurens had a homosexual relationship with Alexander Hamilton. These reports are based upon letters Hamilton wrote Laurens during a period in which Laurens was absent from the camp. In preparing a biography, Hamilton's family actually crossed out parts of letters they each sent one another. Whether their relationship was sexual or not is unknown—sodomy was a punishable offence in all thirteen colonies at the time, and so even if it had been they would have been most cautious, and it is likely that the truth will never be known. Though the language in the letters was not uncommon among those of the same sex in this historical period, Hamilton was never as emotionally open with any other man in his lifetime, and the depths of sentiment are equaled only in letters he wrote to his wife Eliza. On the other hand, Hamilton knew no other peer in similar rank, age, and war experience with whom to share a deep platonic relationship. Further, in the same letter that is interpreted by some modern students as most cause for suspicion, Hamilton actually requests Laurens to find him a wife while away, and goes on with a detailed description of characteristics she should have. Additionally, whether Laurens held anything but platonic feelings for Hamilton appears unlikely, given not only the lack of any suspect letters by him, but also Laurens' strong relationship with his father, and Washington's comment that during their many months together he had found Laurens "without flaw."  For years it was rumored that a statue of the two stood as part of the larger Marquis de Lafayette statue in Lafayette Park, across from the White House in Washington, D.C., depicted clasping hands and congratulating each other after capturing the British redoubt at Yorktown. While the statue at one time served as a popular gay rendezvous, the figures on the west side of the Marquis de Lafayette statue actually depict Louis Le Bègue Duportail and Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, the Comte de Rochambeau.

9.  Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton (NY: The Penguin Press, April 26, 2004), page 94.

10.  Chernow, page 95.

11.  Chernow, page 95. Chernow refers to James T. Flexner, Young Hamilton: A Biography (Fordham University Press, January 1, 1997). Jonathan Ned Katz would like information about what Flexner says about Hamilton and Laurens. Katz can be emailed at

12.  Chernow, page 95, citing n. 47.

13.  Chernow, page 95.



Hamilton, Alexander. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Harold C. Syrett, associate ed. Jacob E. Cooke (N.Y.: Columbia University, 1961), vols. 2 and 3.

Hamilton, Alexander. The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. John C. Hamilton (New York, 1851)

Hamilton, Allan McLane. The Intimate Life of Alexander Hamilton, Based Chiefly Upon Original Family Letters and other Documents, Many of Which Have Never Been Published. New York, C. Scribner's Sons, 1910. London: Duckworth, 1910. See page 245: "The gay trio to which Hamilton and Laurens belonged was made complete by La Fayette. On the whole, there was something about them rather suggestive of the three famous heroes of Dumas, although the period of the American Revolution was less romantic than that of the Musketeers. . . . There is a note of romance in their friendship, quite unusual even in those days, and La Fayette, especially during his early sojourn in this country, was on the closest terms with Hamilton." Note that Dr. Allan McLane Hamilton was a psychiatrist who wrote about “sexual perverts” and other sexual variants. For example, see his article "The Civil Responsibility of Sexual Perverts," American Journal of Insanity (1896). Also see his books, including: Recollections of an Alienist, Personal and Professional (New York, George H. Doran company [©1916]), A System of Legal Medicine (New York : E.B. Treat, 1907 c[1900]), A Manual of Medical Jurisprudence, with Special Reference to Diseases and Injuries of the Nervous System (New York [etc.] Bermingham & company, 1883), The Development of the Legal Relations Concerning the Insane, with Suggestions for Reform (New York : William Wood & Co., 1908).

Katz, Jonathan Ned, Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A., Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1976, p. 452-456 and notes

Katz, Jonathan Ned. "Alexander Hamilton's Nose: Putting Sex Back in History." The Advocate, October 10, 1988, page 29.

Miller, John Chester. Alexander Hamilton: A Portrait in Paradox (NY: Harper & Row, 1959), page 22.

Norton, Rictor, editor. My Dear Boy: Gay Love Letters through the Centuries (1998). Norton says: "Laurens had married in 1776, but his letters were passionate on the subject of friendship, as when he wrote to his friend Richard Meade: "Adieu: I embrace you tenderly. . . . My friendship for you will burn with that pure flame which has kindled you your virtues." Hamilton, who had not yet married, playfully raises the subject of marriage as a substitute or displacement for his own love of Laurens, as an opportunity to explore his own feelings and to gauge the other man's response."