"Columbia’s Legacy: Friends and Enemies in the New Nation", December 10, 2004

Conference explores the complex relationships among John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, Gouverneur Morris, and Robert R. Livingston, Jr.

NEW YORK, November 19, 2004 On December 10, 2004, Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML) will present “Columbia’s Legacy: Friends and Enemies in the New Nation,” a conference about the complex relationships among John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, Gouverneur Morris, and Robert R. Livingston, Jr. The conference helps mark Columbia’s 250th anniversary, and is funded by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

United by their education at King’s College in the 1760s and 1770s, these men were alternatively friends, partners, political allies, and enemies. Each epitomized the New York statesman, and the conference will study their shifting alliances, tracing a critical period in the history of the new republic.

The opening of the Revolution found Jay, Morris, and Livingston as recognized younger leaders of the anti-imperial movement in New York. Hamilton, the youngest member of the group, numbered Jay’s father-in-law (and Livingston’s kinsman) as one of his sponsors in North America and soon gained recognition as a Revolutionary soldier and political thinker.

Their partnership continued through the 1780s, when three of the men were founding members of the Manumission Society of New York, and all were active in the decade’s constitutional struggles. In the 1790s, Livingston defected to the party of George Clinton and Thomas Jefferson, and the story of the quartet’s public contributions became a bipartisan chronicle, with bonds of personal friendship broken under the strain of political rivalries.

The conference will begin at 8:30 A.M. in the Dag Hammarskjold Lounge in the International Affairs Building and will continue with sessions at The New-York Historical Society in the afternoon. It is free and open to the public. To register, please e-mail mh932@columbia.edu, or call 212-854-4768.

Founded in 1994, The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History promotes the study and love of American history. Both national and international in scope, the Institute's initiatives target audiences ranging from students to scholars to the general public. The Institute creates history-centered schools and academic research centers; organizes seminars and enrichment programs for educators; produces print and electronic publications and traveling exhibitions; and sponsors lectures by eminent historians.

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library owns over 500,000 rare books in some 20 book collections and almost 28 million manuscripts in nearly 3,000 separate manuscript collections. It is particularly strong in English and American literature and history, classical authors, children's literature, education, mathematics and astronomy, economics and banking, photography, the history of printing, New York City politics, librarianship, and the performing arts. Individual collections are as eclectic as they are extensive. For additional information about the Rare Book and Manuscript Library, please call 212-854-5153.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/ is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

11/19/04 JD