John Clarkson Jay
Life and career
He was the son of Peter A. Jay and grandson of Founding Father John Jay, diplomat, first Chief Justice of the United States and two time Governor of New York State. J. C. Jay graduated from his father and grandfather's alma mater Columbia in 1827, and from the College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1831. In addition to his practice of medicine, he made a specialty of conchology, and acquired the most complete and valuable collection of shells in the United States. This and his costly library on this branch of science were purchased by Catherine Wolfe and presented, in memory of her father, to the American Museum of Natural History, where it is known as the Jay Collection. In 1832 he became a member of the Lyceum of Natural History (now New York Academy of Sciences), and was its treasurer 1836-1843. He took an active part in the efforts that were made during that time to obtain subscriptions for a new building to house the society's collection, and bore the principal burden in planning and superintending its construction.
Following the death of his father in 1843, he inherited the Jay family estate including the 1838 Peter Augustus Jay House in Rye, New York and lived there with his family until his death in 1891. Today his home is the centerpiece of the Boston Post Road Historic District a National Historic Landmark and managed by the Jay Heritage Center.
He was one of the original founders of New York Yacht Club in 1844, and for some time its secretary. From 1859 until 1880, he was a trustee of Columbia College. The shells collected by the expedition of Com. Matthew C. Perry to Japan were submitted to him for examination, and he wrote the article on that subject in the government reports. Jay wrote Catalogue of Recent Shells (New York, 1835), Description of New and Rare Shells (1836), and later editions of his catalogue, in which he enumerates about 11,000 well-marked varieties, and at least 7,000 well-established species.
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- Clary, Suzanne, "A Legacy of Sailing," Rye Magazine, Weston Magazine Group, Summer 2009. http://issuu.com/westonmagazinegroup/docs/rye-summer09/247