Jay Family Stories – William Jay and Prudence Crandell

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The family story this month revolves around Prudence Crandell, a schoolteacher in Canterbury, Connecticut. Crandell, a white woman, was arrested for allowing black students to attend the female boarding school she operated. William Jay, a prominent member in the American abolitionist movement, took an interest in Crandell’s plight and eventual court case, becoming an advisor…

Jay Family Stories – The Vanderbilt Wedding

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Rockefeller, Morgan, Livingston, Astor. Names that will forever be associated with Gilded Age opulence. However, one cannot begin to think about the late 19th century without the name that would become synonymous with New York high society: Vanderbilt. Alva Smith Vanderbilt was determined to launch the Vanderbilt family into the social stratosphere after she married…

Jay Family Stories: Douglas Chandler

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Although we have a Jay Family Story about the heroic Adam Von Trott who tried to defeat Adolf Hitler by leading a revolution from within the German government, we also have a Family Story about a Nazi sympathizer and propagandist, Douglas Chandler. Chandler is related to the Jay family through his marriage to Laura Jay…

Jay Family Stories: John Jay II and the Huguenot Society of America

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The Huguenot Society of America was organized in 1883 to promote the cause of religious freedom, and to commemorate the memory of the Huguenots who fled France and settled in the United States. Much of the organizing and promoting that went into creating this society was facilitated by John Jay II, whose great-great grandfather Auguste…

Jay Family Stories: John Jay II and Stephen Myers

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During the years leading up to the Civil War, when tensions were highest, John Jay II and famed abolitionist Stephen Meyers worked closely to help enslaved persons escape to Canada along the Underground Railroad. Jay used his position as an attorney to free people escaping enslavement through the courts in New York City, while Myers,…

Jay Family Stories: Chanler Chapman

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This month’s story looks at one of the most interesting and eccentric Jays of the 20th century, Chanler Chapman (1901-1982). Chanler was the only son of American writer John Jay Chapman (1862-1933) and Elizabeth Chapman (1866-1937). John was the great-great grandson of John Jay (1745-1829), and Elizabeth was an Astor descendant. Chanler grew up on…

Jay Family Stories: John Jay II and the Founding of the Met

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John Jay II (1817-1894) played an integral role in the founding of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. His position as President of the Union League Club of New York City enabled him to bring together prestigious artists and philanthropists together to create an art institution that would best represent America’s unique national identity. It all…

Jay Family Stories: Anne Erwin and Mary Jay Okill

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This month’s family story takes a closer look at early feminism in the Jay family.  John Jay once wrote to his daughter Sarah Louisa, “I am not anxious that you should be what is called a ‘learned Lady’ but it would mortify me to have any of my children classed with the ignorant and illiterate.” …