Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

John Jay II Papers, 1834-1911

Summary Information

Abstract

John Jay II was a graduate of Columbia college and an abolitionist. This collection includes letters, legal and financial documents, newspaper clippings, writings, photographs, circulars, and pamphlets.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1946
Bib ID 13503834 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Jay, John, 1817-1894
Title John Jay II Papers, 1834-1911
Physical Description 6.3 Linear Feet (15 document boxes)
Language(s) English .
Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Many boxes in the processed portion of the collection contained mold and have been professionally cleaned. All materials in Boxes 1-3, 5, 7-9, 11-15 have been cleaned. Materials in Boxes 4, 6, and 10 did not contain mold. Although all materials can be used in the reading room, patrons that are sensitive to mold may still experience a reaction to materials that have been cleaned in Boxes 1-3, 5, 7-9, 11-15.

There are nine boxes in this collection that remain unprocessed; these boxes are currently unavailable as the material may contain mold.

This collection has no restrictions.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in two series: Series I: Correspondence; Series II: Documents.

Description

Scope and Contents

The collection contains mostly John Jay II's letters and other documents related to his anti-slavery activities. Besides letters, the collection also has John Jay II's drafts for lectures, newspaper clippings, pamphlets and circulars on abolition and related subjects. There are also some financial documents and miscellaneous notes and photographs.

A portion of this collection (9 document boxes) remains unprocessed. The majority of this material is from the 1880s and 1890s.

  • Series I: Correspondence

    This series contains mostly John Jay II's correspondence with family members and friends, including Alexander Crummell, Charles Sumner, Oliver Johnson, Maria Weston Chapman, and Wendell Philips. Most correspondence have to do with issues including international copyright, fugitive slaves, the Civil War, and the role of the Episcopal church.

  • Series II: Documents

    This series contains legal documents on cases including George Kirk, Lemmon, and Ann McFarland, partition and land sale documents, receipts relating to John Jay II's farms, John Jay II's writings on fugitive slaves, international copyright, and the Civil War, and newspaper clippings on abolition, freeman, the Civil War and John Jay I's political and antislavery activities. The series also includes pamphlets and circulars from anti-slavery societies, temperance petition from the women of Katonah, and some miscellaneous ephemera and photographs.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

Many boxes in the processed portion of the collection contained mold and have been professionally cleaned. All materials in Boxes 1-3, 5, 7-9, 11-15 have been cleaned. Materials in Boxes 4, 6, and 10 did not contain mold. Although all materials can be used in the reading room, patrons that are sensitive to mold may still experience a reaction to materials that have been cleaned in Boxes 1-3, 5, 7-9, 11-15.

There are nine boxes in this collection that remain unprocessed; these boxes are currently unavailable as the material may contain mold.

This collection has no restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Portions of this collection (Boxes 1-15) were processed by Mary Freeman (GSAS 2018) and Hong Deng Gao (GSAS 2021) in 2017-2018.

Finding Aid written by Mary Freeman (GSAS 2018) and Hong Deng Gao (GSAS 2021) in 2018.

Revision Description

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Clippings (Information Artifacts) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Financial records Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Pamphlets Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Personal correspondence Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Abolitionists -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Antislavery movements -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Chapman, Maria Weston, 1806-1885 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia College (Columbia University) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Copyright, International Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Crummell, Alexander, 1819-1898 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Episcopal Church Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fugitive slaves Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Jay, John, 1745-1829 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Jay, John, 1817-1894 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Jay, William, 1841-1915 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Johnson, Oliver, 1809-1889 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Phillips, Wendell, 1811-1884 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Sumner, Charles, 1811-1874 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

John Jay II (1817-1894) was the grandson of John Jay and a graduate of Columbia College in 1836. He followed the example of his grandfather and his father, William Jay, becoming an active abolitionist. William Jay was a judge and an abolitionist who became the president of the New York State Anti-Slavery Society in 1835.

In 1834, while he was still a student at Columbia, John Jay II became a manager of the New-York Young Men's Anti-Slavery Society, which advocated for the immediate abolition of slavery. In the same year, New York was roiled by anti-abolitionist riots. Jay was among those who defended the home of Arthur Tappan, president of the American Anti-Slavery Society, from the mob.

While Jay found few among his fellow Columbians who also supported the antislavery cause, he embarked on a long career of abolitionist activism. As a lawyer, he defended fugitive slaves in New York City in the 1840s and 50s. He also protested racism in the Episcopal Church. Columbia, since its founding, had close ties with that religious denomination, and Jay came into direct conflict with several alumni. Jay also attempted to combat discrimination at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. When James Parker Barnett was summarily expelled from P&S in 1850 after it was discovered that he was of African descent, Jay took on his case. Jay filed a petition in the Supreme Court of New York for a writ of mandamus in an effort to compel P&S to readmit Barnett. This writ was eventually ruled invalid in a later contest.

During the Civil War, John Jay II served as the president of the Union League Club in New York. In this role, Jay strove to cultivate unity and patriotic support of the Union war effort, especially among members of the city's wealthy business community.

Colonel William Jay (1841-1915) was the eldest son of John Jay II and Eleanor Kingsland Field Jay (1819-1909). William Jay served as an aide-de-camp for the Union Army during the American Civil War. After the war, he followed his father into the legal profession. He married Lucy Oelrichs Jay (1854-1931) in 1878.