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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…