Built by Association: Chief Justice John Jay

Autograph of John Jay

Chief Justice John Jay’s signed copy of The Conveyancer’s Guide (1821), with inlaid bookplate.

This 1821 edition of The Conveyancer’s Guide—oddly enough, an extended poem about the thoroughly prosaic craft of conveyancing—was owned and signed by John Jay (1745–1829), the first Chief Justice of the United States. Jay’s bookplate, depicting his coat of arms, is laid in. Schooled in law practice by Lindley Murray, Jay served as Chief Justice from 1789 to 1795, but resigned when he was elected the second governor of New York. Jay died eight years after this book’s publication.

          – Bryan A. Garner

“Built by Association: Books Once Owned by Notable Judges and Lawyers, from Bryan A. Garner’s Collection”, an exhibit curated by Bryan A. Garner with Mike Widener, is on display until December 16, 2013 in the Rare Book Exhibition Gallery, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

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