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The Life of Eliza Schuyler
Transcript of The Life of Eliza Schuyler
Served as the Orphanage's 2nd then 1st Directess
Founded the Orphan Asylum Society
Eliza is Born - 1757
Elizabeth (Eliza) Schuyler was born on August 9, 1757 in Albany, New York. She was born to the Revolutionary War general Philip Schuyler and Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler. She was born into one of the most rich and most politically powerful families in new York State. She had seven siblings.
Eliza is Married - 1780
On December 14, 1780, Eliza Schuyler married Alexander Hamilton. They were married in the Schuyler household. Eliza's marriage was the basis of her historical significance. Although she was the daughter of General Philip Schuyler, she gained a lot of importance by being the wife of Alexander Hamilton. Being his wife also caused multiple events later in her life. The importance gave her more exposure and more power to do what she wanted.
She Forgives Alexander for the Affair
Eliza found out about Alexander's affair with Maria Reynolds through her husband's writings to the public about it. Six years after the affair, in 1798, Eliza publicly forgave him. If she had not done so, Alexander's career and reputation would have been almost completely destroyed. By forgiving her husband, Eliza saved him from public shame and helped herself be able to achieve what she does later in life.
Alexander Hamilton died on July 11, 1804. He received the fatal shot while dueling his long time rival Aaron Burr. Alexander's death left Eliza distraught. She supposedly burst into tears when Alexander's friend, "Uncle" Gouverneur Morris, visited his deathbed. His death continued to affect Eliza's life after she overcame the grief. She continued on, and worked tirelessly to preserve him in the history books.
Throughout her marriage (1780-1804), Eliza helped Alexander draft important documents. Eliza is thought to have helped her husband on many documents including the Federalist Papers. Eliza helped write papers that founded the United States of America. Many of Alexander's papers set up governmental and economic policies.
Alexander Had an Affair
Eliza's oldest child, Philip, died on November 24, 1801 at age 19. He was shot in a duel with George I. Eacker, a supporter of Aaron Burr. After making a speech that denigrated Alexander Hamilton, Philip confronted Eacker with a friend and challenged him to a duel. After his death, Alexander falls into great sadness. Grief also falls upon Eliza. Her son's death alters her life and her husband's,
Petitioned to Publish Alexander's Writings
In 1846, Eliza petitioned Congress to have Alexander's writings published. After his death, she wanted Alexander to have a great legacy. Eliza's plans lasted a long while; they eventually had to be carried out by her son. Eliza's efforts in getting Alexander's work into the public is a direct cause of why we know so much about him today.
Eliza died on November 9, 1854 at the age of 97. She died in Washington, D.C. after moving there to live with her daughter. Eliza is buried with Alexander at Trinity Church in New York City.
Founded New York's 1st Private Orphanage
In 1806, Eliza founded New York's first private orphanage. It is now a family services agency, tied to the Home for Children, called Graham Windham. The orphanage helps kids break through a bad start in their lives. Graham Windham provides family counseling, after school academic support, health services, and other help. Graham Windham serves many children and families per year.
Chernow and Miranda both say that Eliza helped Alexander draft his political essays and correspond with heads of state.
Chernow says, “Her efforts made it easier to research Alexander’s life, because after his death, his enemies were in power. To collect the material, “Elizabeth was working against the political system of the time, and time itself.”
Eliza started a decades-long campaign to ensure Alexander received the historical recognition he deserved.
Tench Tilghman wrote this description of her: “I was prepossessed in favor of the young Lady the moment I saw her. A Brunette with the most good natured lively dark eyes that I ever saw, which threw a beam of good temper and benevolence over her whole Countenance. Mr. Livingston informed me that I was not mistaken in my Conjecture that she was the finest tempered girl in the world.”
"Elizabeth Hamilton." PBS. American Experience, 8 May 2007. Web. 6 May 2016.
"Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 6 May 2016. Web. 9 May
History.com Staff. "Burr Slays Hamilton in Dual." history.com. history.com,
2009. Web. 9 May 2016. <http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/
King, Connie, ed. "Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton (1757-1854)." Women of the
Republican Court. Library Company, 2009. Web. 9 May 2016.
Long, Kat. "Why Elizabeth Hamilton Is Deserving of a Musical of Her Own."
Smithsonian.com. Smithsonian, 25 Feb. 2016. Web. 9 May 2016.
"Philip Hamilton." Wikipedia.com. Wikipedia, 8 May 2016. Web. 9 May 2016.
Presnell, Jenny L. "Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton." Exhibitions. Exhibitions,
2004. Web. 9 May 2016. <http://exhibitions.nysm.nysed.gov//albany/bios/s/
Helped Alexander With Work
From 1791-1792, Alexander paid Maria Reynolds and her husband and had an affair with Maria. This event ruined Alexander's career. It is believed by many historians that if the affair had not happened, or did not become
known, Alexander may have
became President. It is also
possible that the person to expose
the affair was Aaron Burr. If this is
true (nobody knows for sure) than it could have been a cause of the dual resulting in Alexander's death. Lastly, because of the affair, Eliza spent years after Alexander's death trying to restore his image.
On March 15, 1806, Eliza helped found the Orphan Asylum Society. This was the first of its kind in the state of New York. The Society helped orphan children to have better lives. Upon first opening, there were 200 children that needed its help. Although they could not accommodate all 200, the Society evolved and now helps 4500 children living in New York each year. The Orphan Asylum Society is now known as the Graham Home for Children.
From 1806 to 1848, Eliza worked as the second, and then first directess of the orphanage. In these years she ran an influential non-profit business. While running the orphanage, she greatly improved the lives of over 700 children. She provided them with care and education. Her running the business also helped it to grow and become as impactful that it is today.