Columbia University Libraries Awarded $150,000 by NHPRC for John Jay Publication


NEW YORK, July 2, 2004 - Columbia University Libraries has been awarded $150,000 by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the preparation and publication of the papers of John Jay (1745-1829).

Drawing on work done by the late Professor Richard B. Morris, this new multivolume publication will present a more complete selection of Jay materials, edited and updated to conform to the standards of modern documentary editions. The edition will comprise four series: The Jay Papers through 1784; Jay and the Office for Foreign Affairs, 1784-1788; Jay and the New Nation 1788-1794; and Jay and New York, 1795-1829.

"We are delighted that the Rare Book and Manuscript Library has been awarded this funding," said James Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian. "This publication will introduce a new generation of readers and researchers to one of the most overlooked of the Founding Fathers, John Jay, a graduate of Columbia."

This project complements the digital image database of The Papers of John Jay, completed by Columbia University Libraries in summer, 2003. The letterpress edition, replete with annotations, contextual essays, and indices, will act as a guide to more than 20,000 pages of Jay and Jay-related documents currently available on the website, providing specialized information for students and scholars.

The Papers of John Jay, 1745-1829 is an image database and indexing tool comprised of thousands of pages scanned from photocopies of original documents gathered by the John Jay publication project staff during the 1960s and 1970s under the direction of the late Professor Richard B. Morris. The Jay materials may be searched by the name of the writer, name of the recipient, date of composition, name of holding institution and accession number. The database includes letters to and from many of the central figures in the struggle for independence and the early history of the United States-among them George Washington, John Adams, James Munroe, Louis XVI of France, the Marquis de Lafayette, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, Gouverneur Morris, Abigail Adams, and Benjamin Rush.

John Jay served as Governor of New York State from 1797-1801, in addition to his prominent national and international roles, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Protestant Episcopal Church in America. A founder of the New York Manumission society, he introduced legislation prohibiting slavery in the state as early as 1777, and with his sons Peter and William, continued his anti-slavery activities after his retirement from public life.

The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a statutory body affiliated with the National Archives and Records Administration, supports a wide range of activities to preserve, publish, and encourage the use of documentary sources relating to the history of the United States. Established by Congress in 1934, the Commission is a 15-member body, chaired by the Archivist of the United States, and composed of representatives of the three branches of the Federal government and of professional associations of archivists, historians, documentary editors, and records administrators. Through its grant program, training programs, research services and special projects, the Commission offers advice and assistance to individuals and non-Federal agencies and institutions committed to the preservation and use of America's documentary resources.

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.

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