Columbia Libraries Receives Support for John Jay Papers Project

NEW YORK, April 13, 2007 Columbia University Libraries recently received a $30,000 grant from the Florence J. Gould Foundation to support production of the final volumes of a series of unpublished papers of John Jay, America's first Chief Justice, architect of the Treaty of Paris, and an author of the Federalist.

The Selected Papers of John Jay, a project sponsored by Columbia’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library and funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), is producing a multivolume scholarly edition of Jay’s papers to be published by Columbia University Press. 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.

The seven-volume Selected Papers of John Jay will be the first modern edition of John Jay’s life and papers and will promote his overdue recognition as a Founding Father. The edition will also complement the online database The Papers of John Jay.

Two letterpress volumes of selected papers, John Jay: The Making of a Revolutionary: Unpublished papers, 1745-1780 and John Jay: The Winning of the Peace: Unpublished papers, 1780-1784, edited by Richard B. Morris, have appeared previously.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.

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writings - including his lively correspondence with his wife, sons and political heirs - the completed series of Jay's unpublished papers will encourage new assessments of the career and accomplishments of this least well-known of the Founding Fathers.

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 Library’s web site at is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library owns over 600,000 rare books in some 20 book collections and almost 26 million manuscripts in nearly 2,600 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 & Manuscript Library, please call 212-854-5153 or see:

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