Frederick Jay’s Pewter Tobacco Jar

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The jar is engraved with classical decorations and the initials “F.J.,” for Fredrick Jay, John Jay’s brother. Tobacco jars were common during the colonial period, when pipes were the most common method of smoking. See this and other Jay family objects on our Family Ties collections tour at 2pm on Sunday, September 22.

Union Army Colonel William Jay

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This week’s objects remember William Jay II’s service in the Civil War. Taken in 1865, the photo depicts William, in uniform, with his older sister, Eleanor Jay Chapman. The letter he wrote to his younger sister, Mary Jay, to congratulate her on her engagement to William Schieffelin. In it he expressed his fear that not…

Silk Cottage Bonnet

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This mid-19th century silk bonnet may have belonged to Augusta McVickar Jay, John Jay’s daughter-in-law. The “cottage bonnet” was a popular women’s hat during the time Augusta and her husband, William Jay, lived at Bedford House. It was designed specifically for outdoor wear in the countryside as it protected the face and neck from the sun. Join our “Dress for…

Polyanthous

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In 1790 at the age of 14, Peter Augustus Jay, eldest son of John Jay, painted a copy (right) of Major William Blodgett’s watercolor depicting the Polyanthous flower (left). Bloggett, a member of General Washington’s staff, gifted the original painting to Susannah Livingston, Peter’s aunt. Join us on our Connecting to Collections tour: Stop Copying Me, (Sunday, September…

Chinese Export Tea Service

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The surviving pieces in this set are decorated in the Mandarin style popular at the turn of the 19th century. They depict images of high-ranking bureaucrats of the Chinese Empire, known as Mandarins, surrounded by panels of flowers and other ornamental designs. The coloring of this set is typical for the period with a combination…

Auguste Jay’s Book of Common Prayer

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This Book of Common Prayer, the official service book of the Church of England, belonged to John Jay’s paternal grandfather, Auguste Jay. Auguste, the first Jay to come to America, was a Huguenot fleeing religious persecution in France following the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by French King Louis XIV. Many Huguenot churches in…

Auguste Jay’s Letter of Denization

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Auguste Jay, grandfather of John Jay, received a Letter of Denization on March 4, 1686.  Written by Captain Thomas Dongan, provincial governor of New York under King James II, it affirms that Auguste Jay was a legal resident of the colony of New York and conveyed the privileges of a Denizen.  He could buy and…

Peter Jay’s Seal

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This silver seal, belonging to John Jay’s father, Peter Jay (1704-1782), bears the original Jay family coat of arms. The silver collar is very faintly and crudely scratched with his name “Peter Jay 1722.” Seals were used to keep a letter closed while in transit, and to tell the recipient if the letter had been…

New York State Militia Commission

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Commission appointing Abijah Holmes to the rank of ensign in the New York State Militia, signed by John Jay as governor on April 18, 1797. President George Washington directed Henry Knox, Secretary of War to devise a plan to use the state militias in war and national crisis. Knox’s efforts resulted in the 1792 Militia…

John Jay’s Sword

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This silver sword was worn by John Jay during formal occasions, especially while serving as a diplomat in Europe during the American Revolution. A sword was considered an essential part of a gentleman’s court attire. The sword was made in England by Thomas Chawner. It will be featured, along with other silver pieces from our…