Rare Book and Manuscript Library Receives National Endowment for the Humanities Grant for the Papers of John Jay

The grant will support the publication of volumes 4 (1785-1788), 5 (1789-1795), and 6 (1795-1829) of the papers of John Jay (1745-1829), a member of the Continental Congress, secretary for foreign affairs, first Chief Justice of the United States, and governor of New York. The grant provides for a new associate editor position to advance editorial work on the later volumes in this series.  The project is part of a larger campaign at Columbia to bring greater attention to Columbia alumnus Jay’s many accomplishments.

“This grant will provide us the staff level and expertise needed to explore fully Jay's contributions as United States Chief Justice and Governor of New York and as a religious leader and social reformer and bring the edition close to completion,” said Dr. Elizabeth M. Nuxoll, editor of The Selected Papers of John Jay.

The Selected Papers of John Jay is a multivolume scholarly edition of Jay’s papers currently being produced by a team of scholars at Columbia for publication by the University of Virginia Press. The edition will consist of seven volumes of a wide-ranging selection of the most significant and interesting public and private documents and letters, written or received by Jay, annotated and interspersed with commentary.

The edition is designed to revise and complete work begun in the late 1950s by Richard B. Morris, an eminent Jay scholar and Columbia University professor, who supplemented the major collection of original Jay Papers at Columbia with copies of Jay documents secured from archives throughout the world. Morris and his staff published two volumes covering the era of the American Revolution and began work on a projected two additional volumes before his untimely death.

The current project, which began in 2004, has published three volumes to date, the third of which was released in May 2012 and covers Jay’s role as peace negotiator. The volumes serve as a guide to the Papers of John Jay website, an image database funded by the NEH launched in 2003. This website provides access to images of more than 20,000 pages of Jay and Jay-related documents, and is free and available to the public. 


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