Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library Receives Grant to Edit Unpublished John Jay Papers


New York, NY - September 10, 2002 Thanks to a grant from the Peck Stacpoole Foundation, the John Jay Papers editorial project at the Columbia University Libraries has begun work on production of the final volumes of a series of the unpublished papers of John Jay, America's first Chief Justice, architect of the Treaty of Paris, and an author of the Federalist.

As a result of the $29,000 grant from the Peck Stacpoole Foundation, Dr. Mary-Jo Kline, editor of The Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr (Princeton, 1983) and author of A Guide to Documentary Editing (Baltimore, 1998) has begun work on revision of the existing manuscripts of the untitled volumes in the hope of 2006 publication. Monies are currently being sought from public and private funding agencies to make possible completion of these long-awaited resources.

Two letterpress volumes of selected papers, John Jay: The Making of a Revolutionary: Unpublished papers, 1745-1780 and John Jay: The Winning of the Peace: Unpublished papers, 1780-1784, edited by Richard B. Morris have appeared previously. Morris, who had first projected the series in 1959, was unable to bring the final volumes to press before his death in 1989, but had completed preliminary work on them.

The Jay letterpress edition follows on a nearly completed project to make available images of more than 13,000 unedited Jay letters and documents. Funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities with additional help from the Florence Gould Foundation, the John Jay Digital Image database will be available to the public on the World Wide Web later this year.

The Peck Stacpoole Foundation, a charitable endowment for the support of genealogical, local history and other museum and library collections, made the grant in memory of S. Allyn Peck, an alumnus of the Columbia Business School, looking towards the upcoming 250th anniversary of the University.

John Jay, a New Yorker, who left the Supreme Court to negotiate the Treaty that bears his name in 1794, served two terms as governor of New York. Although he retired from public life to his farm in Bedford, New York in 1801, Jay remained in service to the republic as a senior advisor to the remaining Federalists. He was also an active Episcopalian and founder of that denomination, and an active participant in the anti-slavery movement. By making available a fully annotated letterpress edition of Jay's writings - including his lively correspondence with his wife, sons and political heirs - the completed series of Jay's unpublished papers will encourage new assessments of the career and accomplishments of this least well-known of the Founding Fathers.

The Rare Book and Manuscript Library, located on the 6th Floor East of the Columbia University Butler Library, at 535 West 114th Street at Broadway, New York, is home to over 600,000 rare books, 28 million manuscripts filed in 3,000 separate collections, 75,000 photographs, and 40,000 prints and drawings. In addition to printed and manuscript resources, the library contains cuneiform tablets, papyri, maps, works of art, posters, sound recordings and other interesting objects and materials. The library's website with collections and service information is: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/indiv/rbml/index.html.

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written: 09/10/02 KRS