Columbia Library columns (v.23(1973Nov-1974May))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



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  v.23,no.2(1974:Feb): Page 31  

An American in Paris:
A Recent Notable John Jay Acquisition



(/" If "SFIROUGH the generosity of the Columbia College Class
of '23, Special Collections has now acquired an extremely
choice Jay item, coming in time to be included in the
publication program of the John Jay Papers, the first volume of
which is scheduled for the press during the present academic year.
This is Jay's diary kept for a brief but crucial period during the
preliminary peace negotiations of 1782.

It should be noted that while John Jay was a rather careful col¬
lector of his own papers, he never was a consistent diarist. Unlike
John Adams, whose diaries are a delightful revelation about the
author as well as the people and events with which he was asso¬
ciated. Jay was much more taciturn, and one might even say
inhibited. The Jay Papers in Special Collections already have
fragmentary diary entries for the summer of '76 and for the years
in which Jay rode circuit as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
of the United States. These newly acquired diary entries, notably
those covering the period June 23 to December 22, 1782, shed
light on one of the most controversial aspects of the negotiations
for peace during the American Revolution. In the light of the
scattered character of Jay's diaries it seems reasonable to come to
one of two conclusions, either that some events with which Jay
was associated seemed to be of such striking importance that he
recorded them in diary form, or that only few fragments of a life¬
time of diary-keeping have survived. All extant evidence favors
the former rather than the latter explanation.

The most important entry in Jay's diary of the peacemaking is
the following:

  v.23,no.2(1974:Feb): Page 31