His fascination with misunderstood attorney and one-time presidential candidate Aaron Burr started right after law school when Hardison had more free time to spend on his hobby.
“I’ve been knee-deep in it since I passed the bar 20 years ago,” said Hardison.
Now his collection of letters, documents and memorabilia regarding Burr, a Revolutionary War-era historical figure, surpasses four digits.
About 130 items from his collection are now on display at the exclusive Grolier Club in New York City until July.
The Grolier Club is a private club of bibliophiles in New York. Hardison said there are only about 20 members of the club from Georgia, and he is the first Georgian to have a public exhibit at the club.
The New York Times published an article about the exhibit, which Hardison claims is the most extensive Aaron Burr exhibit ever.
“The day the New York Times article came out – that was a big day for me,” he said. “I compare that to a rock star seeing his face on the cover of Rolling Stone.”
After 20-some years of studying the man who everyone knows as “the man who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel,” Hardison said Burr “lived the most interesting life in his first 50 years” than anyone he’s known of.
Hardison’s most prized possession, which is being featured at The Grolier Club, is Burr’s pocket watch which contains the only known photograph of his wife.
The exhibit features 10 cases of Aaron Burr memorabilia.
Hardison, a University of Georgia graduate has practiced law for 20 years and been the city judge in Dallas for nine years.
The Hardison family moved to Dallas from Powder Springs, where he currently practices law, seven years ago.
While Hardison has made many unfound discoveries about Aaron Burr, he also collects other historical memorabilia and has signatures from John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin and John Adams.
“The New York Times said I was trying to make a case for remembering Aaron Burr, and that’s very accurate,” Hardison said.