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Happy Birthday Francois-Marie Arouet (11/21)! Arouet, best known by his pen name, Voltaire, was one of the most prolific writers of the 18th century. He wrote extensively on world history through a cultural, economic, and political lens while rejecting the traditional Christian framework that marked history books before his time. He also penned upwards of…

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Happy birthday Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (11/18)! Daguerre invented the daguerreotype photography process in France and introduced it to the French public in 1839. Months later daguerreotypes made their way to America, where an eager public clamored for the miraculous “mirror with a memory.” Daguerreotype images are produced by sensitizing a polished silvered copper plate with iodine…

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This scrapbook contains drawings made by Eleanor Iselin when she was about 9 years old. Inspired by the holiday season, this page is adorned with reindeer and wreaths, as well as lyrics to Hark, the Herald Angels Sing! The holiday season is right around the corner and tickets for our Candlelight Tours are now on…

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Experience John Jay’s historic Bedford House as it takes on the glow of candlelight to celebrate the holiday season. These unique guided tours focus on holiday traditions and decorations of the 1820s. Tours are offered Thursday through Sunday, December 12 – 15 & 19 – 22 every half-hour from 5:00pm – 7:00pm. Admission: $15 for…

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The letters sent between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr leading to their fateful duel were published in this July 25, 1804 edition of the New-England Republican. Hamilton’s will, the funeral obsequies, and transcriptions of the funeral orations were also published in the second and third pages. “Hamilton” is written at the top in John Jay’s hand….

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Happy Birthday Noah Webster (October 16, 1758)! Webster published his first dictionary in 1806, A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. In 1807 Webster began compiling an expanded and fully comprehensive dictionary; it took twenty-six years to complete. This edition of An American Dictionary of the English Language is one of the first 2,500 copies…

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This piano-shaped necessaire, a small box for holding personal items, was made in France around 1825. It doubles as a sewing kit and music box. The top layer holds scissors, a needle case, a thimble, a hook crochet bodkin, a round winder, two matching reels, a crystal bottle for rose water or perfume, and an…

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST: And I’m about to take you inside an unusual museum – unusual because most people will never see it. Normally, you need a top-secret security clearance to get up here. So we’ve just walked down. You’ve just pulled back the curtain. And what are we looking at? BILL EVANINA: The very…

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While John Jay was Secretary for Foreign affairs, his wife Sarah was a renowned hostess. She kept this list of invitations as a means of tracking guests. The date on the far right of this page, October 22, 1787, shows Alexander Hamilton and James Madison among the Federalists dining at the Jay’s home just five…

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This ornate pair of candlesticks, c. 1804-1815, is a great example of the French Empire style. Each is shaped like an urn on a pedestal, and the lid, when inverted can be inserted upside-down so that the otherwise ornamental piece can be used as a candleholder.  The varying leaf designs, and the lion’s head are both…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…