In Service to the New Nation: The Life & Legacy of John Jay
Few leaders of the new American nation had more influence than John Jay (1745–1829) or could match his contributions in all three branches of government, at both state and national levels. A leading representative of New York in both Continental Congresses, Jay became one of the American commissioners who negotiated peace with Great Britain. He served the new republic as secretary for foreign affairs under the Articles of Confederation, as a contributor to The Federalist, as the first chief justice of the United States, as negotiator of the 1794 "Jay Treaty" with Great Britain, and as a two-term governor of the state of New York. In his personal life, Jay embraced a wide range of religious, social, and cultural concerns, including the abolition of slavery.
As part of the broader events celebrating the near completion of the seven volumes of The Selected Papers of John Jay publication project based at Columbia University, this exhibit aims to shed light on the different aspects of Jay's personal, familial, and public life and discuss his many civic accomplishments in shaping America's governance, diplomacy, and judiciary. In Service to the New Nation: The Life & Legacy of John Jay draws on the correspondence, public papers, printed items, portraits, and drawings located in the various collections and libraries at Columbia University. The items presented include such varied materials as the transcribed Laws of King’s College, Jay's draft of The Federalist 5, period sheet music of Governor Jay's March, and a chart of New York City's harbor defences. Unless otherwise noted, the materials presented herein are taken from the John Jay Papers, 1668-1862 Collection and Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library.
Funding for this exhibition and related programming was provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, Columbia University Libraries, and the Office of the Provost.
Robb K. Haberman, Associate Editor, The Selected Papers of John Jay