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This silver tea pot is from a set that also contains a creamer and and a sugar pot. The hallmarks on the bottom of each piece “W.B. Heyer” indicate they were all made by New York Silversmith William Braisted Heyer, who began working in the city in 1798. Our set was donated to the homestead in…

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This portrait of Colonel William Jay was done by John Singer Sargent in 1888, when Jay was 47 years old. William Jay was born in 1841 and was the only son of John Jay II and Eleanor Field Jay. Like previous Jay generations, William became a lawyer after graduating from Columbia University in 1859. He…

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John Jay Homestead State Historic Site has launched new digital content you can enjoy from home. These fun, interactive activities allow you to experience history while historic house tours are suspended. Learn more about the collection by exploring the Object of the Day or try to solve one of history’s mysteries by being an Object Detective. A…

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Augusta McVickar Jay, wife of William Jay and daughter-in-law of John Jay, was about 35 years old when this portrait by William Edward West was painted. Learn more about Augusta and the other Jay women during our Thematic Tours in March; see our calendar for details.

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The First Federal Congress convened at Federal Hall in New York City on March 4, 1789 following the ratification of the Constitution. This armchair was one of 26 made for the Senate. While sitting in these chairs, senators passed important legislation including the Bill of Rights. John Jay Homestead owns four of the original chairs;…

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This broadside was a call to action for local abolitionists. Gilbert Horton, born free in Westchester County, was falsely arrested and imprisoned in Washington D.C. as runaway slave. According to an advertisement in the National Intelligencer, he would be sold as a slave if he wasn’t claimed by his owner. With the help of William Jay and several…

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George Washington at Dorchester Heights, was originally painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1806. It was later copied by Moses Swett, whose copy was engraved by Thomas Kelly and turned into a lithograph. Swett’s portrait is in New York City Hall; Stuart’s is at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. This copy of the print has…

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Arthur Tappan wrote William Jay, an influential abolitionist, seeking his opinion on establishing an American Anti-Slavery Society, with the hope of giving abolitionists a more collective influence nationwide. This letter in response expresses William’s support for the Society and even includes a suggested preamble for its Constitution. Learn more about the Jay family’s complex relationship…

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The first landmark ruling from the Supreme Court, presided over by John Jay as Chief Justice, came in the case of Chisholm v. Georgia in 1793. Alexander Chisholm attempted to sue the State of Georgia over payments due for the supply of goods to the state during the Revolutionary War. The State of Georgia claimed that as…

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The Austrian composer was born on January 31, 1797. Despite only living 31 years, he composed more than 1,500 songs for solo voice, piano, and orchestra. This sheet music for his Les Plaintes de la Jeune Fille was owned by Eleanor “Ella” Jay, daughter of John Jay II and Eleanor Kingsland Field Jay. It was bound with…

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This photo depicts William Jay Iselin, Dorothy Iselin, and Eleanor Iselin – children of Arthur & Eleanor Jay Iselin (John Jay’s great-great-granddaughter) – enjoying the snowy outdoors with their dog. The Homestead is open daily from sunrise to sunset for winter hiking, snowshoeing, and x-country skiing – we welcome your on-leash pets to join you!…

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A former Senator and Secretary of State from New Hampshire, Webster was a key figure in the debates over slavery’s expansion to new U.S. territories that dominated congress during the first half of the 19th century, advocating for compromise between slave and non-slave states to preserve the Union. This edition of The Works of Daniel Webster was owned by…

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Bed warmers were used to heat a person’s bed before going to sleep during the cold nights of winter. The brass pan would be filled with hot stones or embers and passed over the bed sheets to warm them. Despite the cold, John Jay Homestead is open all winter with regular tours Thursday through Saturday…

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Happy birthday Ben! This portrait of Franklin was drawn and engraved by Michael Bisi in 1818. The practice of Latinizing names, as Bisi has done with Benjamin, was meant to make them seem more grandiose. Written in the bottom right corner of the portrait is “Per Dalla Libera,” which is incorrect Italian intended to translate…

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Merry Christmas from John Jay Homestead! This 1930s photo Christmas card depicts John Jay’s Office when Eleanor Jay Iselin (his great-great-granddaughter) and her family lived in Bedford House.

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These skates date from the mid-19th century and were designed to strap on to winter boots. To secure the boot to the base and blade, a large screw at the back screwed into the boot heel; three spikes towards the front kept it stable. Leather straps were then tied around the boot to further secure it. Modern…

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Happy Birthday John Jay! According to Jay family tradition, this silk suit, made in the French taste, was worn by John Jay on the day in 1782 when Benjamin Franklin introduced him to the Foreign Minister of King Louis XVI of France. Jay and Franklin were in Paris for the negotiation of the treaty that…

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This portrait of George Washington was engraved by James Heath after a 1797 painting by Gilbert Stuart. It is commonly referred to as the “Lansdowne” portrait as it was commissioned as a gift to the Marquis of Lansdowne, William Petty, from William Bingham,  a wealthy merchant and Senator. Gilbert Stuart, considered one of America’s best…