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…

John Jay’s Walking Stick

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This walking stick was a gift to John Jay from his friend and colleague William Bingham. The two met while serving on the Committee of Secret Correspondence during the American Revolution, but did not become close until a chance encounter on Bingham’s post of Martinique while the Jays were travelling to Spain on a diplomatic…

John Jay to Cesar Rodney 15 May 1779

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John Jay, as President of the Second Continental Congress, sent this letter to Delaware governor Cesar Rodney, informing him that British ships had been seen entering the Chesapeake Bay, an essential naval objective during the Revolutionary War.  Learn more about John Jay’s role during the American Revolution on our Thematic Tour offered at 2pm, Wednesday…

His Excellency John Jay

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This print depicts John Jay as President of Congress and Minister to Spain during the American Revolution. Congress sent Jay to Spain in 1779 to secure financial aid and Spanish recognition of American Independence. During his almost three years in Spain he was unable to secure an audience with King Charles III, or have America…

A John Jay Original

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Thanks to over 150 years of continuous family occupation, John Jay Homestead benefits from an unusually high survival of its original collections. Approximately 50% of the exhibited furniture and over 80% of the exhibited art are original to the house. Although some of these items were acquired by later generations of the Jay family, many…

Objects from Everyday Life

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The “JJ” monogrammed dinner service was made in the early 1770s, likely for the occasion of John and Sarah Jay’s wedding in 1774. It is Chinese export armorial porcelain, popular at the time. The pattern appears to be standard, with the monogram added for customization. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has a set with this…

Wedgwood Hedgehog Bulb Pot

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The hedgehog’s body and the tray below would hold soil; crocus or other bulbs would be planted and forced to bloom through the holes. It was made in 1771 by Josiah Wedgwood, founder of the Wedgwood factory, who is generally credited with the industrialization of the manufacture of pottery. It is Black Basalt, made from…

John Jay to Peter Augustus Jay – 21 Feb 1815

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A letter from John Jay to his son, Peter Augustus, written four days after the United States ratified the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812. Jay, like most Federalists, was opposed to the war. In this letter, he refers to “the delusion which caused it,” likely referring to the growing American expansionist fervor…

Rhine Wine Glass

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Rhine wine glass, with “WJ” cypher and the cross from the Jay family crest.  Made for Col. William Jay and his wife Lucie in the late 19th or early 20th century.  During the period called the Gilded Age, society figures like the Jays put on elaborate, multi-course dinners.  It was conventional for most of the wine served…

Marble Mantel Piece

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When New York State first came into procession of John Jay’s Bedford House in 1959, we embarked upon a large-scale restoration with the intent of returning the house, as much as possible, to its appearance during John Jay’s lifetime. Thought to be from a later period, the marble mantels in the dining room and parlor…