Search Help


Author/Recipient Search

  • Use the Author or Recipient search to find documents from or to a particular person.  If you wish to search for all documents both from and to a particular person with a single search, use the Keywords search box (see Keywords Search below).

  • Names of authors and recipients are not always consistent in their form.  Titles such as Sir, Lady, and Dr., and abbreviations for given names, e.g., Geo. for George, are employed inconsistently.  At times only surnames are used, e.g., Calonne for Charles Alexandre de Calonne.  To search for name variants use the asterisk (*) symbol as a substitute for one or more characters within or at the end of a word.  Note, for example, that the following search returns all variants of the name:

search: Franklin, W*
returns: Franklin, W. T
Franklin, William
Franklin, William T.
Franklin, William Temple

Keywords Search

  • Keywords searches the text of the document Abstract as well as the Author and Recipient fields.  If you wish to retrieve all items to and from a particular individual with a single search, the Keywords search will accomplish this, and at the same time find all abstracts in which the name is mentioned.

  • The results screen for a Keywords search displays your term(s) highlighted in yellow.

Repository Search

  • The Repository search is done from a drop-down menu that lists the names of institutions holding the Jay material cataloged in the database.  A repository code is displayed in parenthesis next to the repository name.  Most codes are from the Library of Congress’s MARC Code List for Organizations.

  • The complete code list can be viewed by clicking on the Repository Codes link on the search form page.
  • The search results page displays the repository code only.  To view the full name of the repository, position your mouse pointer over the code and a small window containing the name will appear.

Jay ID Search

  • The Jay ID number is a unique and persistent number assigned by the Papers of John Jay project to individual documents.  When the ID number is known, the Jay ID search field can be used to locate a specific document.  For example, a search for Jay ID 345 retrieves:

Abstract for:   [Document, 1788 May 13]

Author(s):        Jay, John

Recipient(s):    Griffin, Cyrus

Repository:      National Archives and Records Administration (DNA)

  • The URL format for linking to individual Jay Papers documents is illustrated below.  Note that the last element of the URL is the Jay ID number front-padded with zeros to 5 digits.

Date Search

  • To limit a search by date, select a value from the year, month, and day drop-down menus in the For / From section of Search / Limit by Date.  You can search by year alone, year and month, or year and month and day.  It is not possible to search by month without selecting the year, or by day without selecting the month and year.
  • To search for documents within a range of dates, enter the earliest date in For / From and the latest date in To. Note that while you can search a For / From without specifying a To date, to input a To date you must also include a For / From date.


  • The Display Options section of the Jay search form page allows you to Sort Results By Author, Recipient, Date or Repository.  The default display is sort by date.
  • Number of Items to Display Per Page in the Display Options allows you to view a search results display page with 10, 25, 50, or 100 items.  The default display is 25 items.

  • The Sort by option on the search results page allows you to re-sort results by Author, Date, Recipient, or Repository.  Just select the preferred option from the top left-hand side of the page.


How can I combine search terms?

A single search can be done by using any or all of the following search fields: Author, Recipient, Keywords, Repository, and Search/Limit by Date.  These terms are combined into a single Boolean “and” search, allowing a more specific search.  For instance, the search below would locate all items written by John Jay (Author) to Sarah Livingston Jay (Recipient) about the topic of smallpox (Keywords) on December 20, 1783 (For/From in Search/Limit by Date). 




Search / Limit by Date:

For / From:                                   Day:

All words entered within the individual fields of Author, Recipient, or Keywords are also combined into a single Boolean "and" search.  For example, the search below retrieves records that include both the words smallpox and children.


How can I broaden my search?

You can use the Boolean command “OR” within a search field to expand your search.  Note that “OR” should be capitalized.  The “OR” search will retrieve records that meet any or all of your search terms.  The search below retrieves records that include either the word smallpox or the word children, as well as records that contain both words.


 How can I exclude search terms?

To exclude terms from your search results use a minus sign ("-") in front of the word to be excluded.  For example, the search below retrieves all records for documents written to William Livingston by all authors with the first, last, or middle name of Jay except for John Jay.



Is searching case sensitive

Searching is not case sensitive, so you don't have to worry about keying upper or lower case. For example, the following searches all retrieve the same results:

     Peter Jay
     peter jay
     Peter jay

Do I have to enter words in a particular order?

Searching is word-order insensitive, so you don't have to enter words in any particular order. For example, the following searches all retrieve the same results:

     Deane, Silas
     Silas Deane

What if I am unsure of the spelling of a word?

You can use an asterisk (*) to locate word variants.  This symbol can be used to substitute for one or more characters within or at the end of a word.  Note that this symbol cannot be used at the beginning of a word.  For example, the following searches will all retrieve the record in which "Shawengunk Mountains" appears in the document abstract


However, the search below will result in an error message


How can I revise my search?

To revise your search, use your browser's back button. Your current search terms will be present in the search form.  You can then modify those terms and/or add new terms in another search field. To clear all terms and start again, click on the Clear button on the search form page or select New Search at the bottom of the page.


How can I view an image?

The number of page images for a particular document is listed under the Images heading on the search results page.  Note that images are not available for all documents.  To view the images click on the Jay ID number on the search results page.  This action opens up the abstract page.  Click on the View Page Images link on the abstract page to display the image.

What are my viewing options?

There are two options for viewing images.  The default option is the JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) image, which is presented when you click View Page Images on the Abstract page. This action opens the image in a new window.  You may then select a zoom level of 25%, 50%, or 100%. For multi-page documents use the "Previous" or "Next" arrows to navigate through the images or select the desired page number from the "Jump to" drop-down box.

The other option is to view images with ExpressView, which provides advanced viewing controls, including zoom-in/out for detail inspection. To select this viewing option click on the View with ExpressView link on the JPEG image page.  The first time you request an image you need to download the ExpressView Browser Plug-in, available free for individual use from LizardTech.  Click on the Download ExpressView link to connect to the download site and instructions. Note that at the present time use of the Windows version of either the Internet Explorer or Netscape web browser is recommended for optimal viewing.

How do I print an image?

PC Users:

To print a JPEG image, click on your browser's print icon or use the print keyboard shortcut CTRL + P

To print an image viewed with ExpressView, right click in the main window and select the Print option from the pop-up context menu

Macintosh Users:

To print a JPEG image, use the print keyboard shortcut Command +P

To print an image viewed with ExpressView, click while holding the CONTROL key and select Print from the pop-up context menu.

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