Constitution Day at Columbia University

The John Jay Papers, contain many letters that Jay wrote just prior, during, and just after the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787. Jay, then serving as Secretary of Foreign Affairs for the Confederation, kept American diplomats serving abroad, such as John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, informed of the news, while frustrated that the Convention was meeting in “great secrecy.” Jay also tried to influence the proceedings from afar, and, as shown in his letter of 25 July to George Washington, sometimes he succeeded.


The Rare Book and Manuscript Library is the principal repository of the papers of John Jay (1745-1829). A graduate of Kings College (later Columbia University), Jay had drafted the state constitution for New York during the Revolution, but, as a result of political rivalries that would plague the entire ratification process, he was not selected as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention that met in Philadelphia during the long hot summer of 1787.

The Government and Community Affairs office at Columbia University is hosting a celebration of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 2009. For more information, visit the website. Pocket editions of the Constitution will be available free of charge at the Law School ‘s Faculty Panel and in the Government & Community Affairs Office in Low Library, Room 309.

For images of these and other relevant documents see the online edition of the Papers of John Jay, sponsored by the Columbia University Libraries:

John Jay and the Constitution
The Papers of John Jay