Hay, John, 1838-1905

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1838-10-08
Death 1905-07-01
Americans
English, French

Biographical notes:

Brown class of 1858. Secretary to Abraham Lincoln; Ambassador to Court of St. James; Secretary of State; author.

From the description of Papers, 1829-1916. (Brown University). WorldCat record id: 122598680

American diplomat and author.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Cleveland, to the editors of The Critic [Jeannette L. and Joseph B. Gilder], 1884 Aug. 15. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 644640373

Statesman, poet, Secretary of State.

From the description of Papers of John Hay, 1872-1905. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 51926579

Diplomat, poet, journalist, historian; secretary to Abraham Lincoln.

From the description of Letter and invitations, [ca. 1900], 1902. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 33374004

From the description of Letters, 1873-1903. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 33374038

From the description of Autograph, [ca. 1861-1865] (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 33373963

From the description of Letter: Washington, [D.C.], to H[arry] E. Barker, Springfield, Ill., 1902 June 5. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 33374029

From the description of Letter: Washington, [D.C.], to Charles Stewart, 1861 Nov. 27. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 33374030

From the description of Note, 1871 July 3. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 33374042

From the description of Letter: Washington, [D.C.], to [Richard C.] McCormick, 1864 May 16. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 33374033

From the description of Papers, 1908, [1912?]. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 33374055

United States secretary of state.

From the description of Letter, 1898 Dec. 6. (Historical Society of Washington, Dc). WorldCat record id: 70966709

Journalist, lecturer, secretary of Pres. Abraham Lincoln, and U.S. Secretary of State; of Cleveland, Ohio.

From the description of Address, 1896 Oct. 6. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 70962133

Private secretary and military aide to Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865; diplomat; Secretary of State, 1898-1905.

From the description of ALS : Washington, D.C., to John Wien Forney, 1864 Apr. 25. (Rosenbach Museum & Library). WorldCat record id: 122610586

Biographer and Secretary of State of the United States.

From the description of Letters, 1903. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122644930

John Milton Hay, secretary to and biographer of Abraham Lincoln, journalist, and politician, Secretary of State from 1898 to 1905.

From the description of Letter from John Milton Hay to James D. Hague, 1903, Dec. 4. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 228769713

Studied for the law in the office of his uncle Milton Hay a partner with Abraham Lincoln, who took him to Washington, D.C. as a secretary, later served as ambassador to England, charge d'affaires to Vienna and Secretary of State for President Roosevelt until his death in 1905. Wrote with his friend, John Nicolay, a biography of Abraham Lincoln. Friends with Henry Adams, William Dean Howells and Robert Lincoln.

From the description of Papers, 1856-1905. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 53920458

John Hay was an American author and statesman. He was assistant secretary to Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and secretary of state under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

From the guide to the Papers of John Hay and Abraham Lincoln, 1840-1911., (Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

John Milton Hay, statesman, diplomat, and historian. He collaborated with John G. Nicolay on the ten-volume Abraham Lincoln : A History, published by the Century Company in 1890.

From the description of Letters from John Milton Hay to the editors of the Century magazine, 1880-1904. (Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens). WorldCat record id: 122540516

Private secretary of Abraham Lincoln.

From the description of John Hay note, 1862 Oct. 8. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 631245805

American statesman.

From the description of Autograph letter signed : Washington, D.C., to the Diplomatic and Consular Officers of the United States, 1905 Mar. 3. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270473979

From the description of Autograph letter signed : New York, to Mrs. [Anne Charlotte Lynch] Botta, 1873 July 31. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270870982

From the description of Autograph letter signed : London, to W.A. Knight, 1898 Jun. 3. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270469315

Assistant private secretary to Abraham Lincoln. Secretary to American legation in Paris. Charge d'affaires at Vienna. Secretary of legation at Madrid. Author, with John Nicolay, of Abraham Lincoln: A History. Assistant Secretary of State. Ambassador to Great Britain. Secretary of State.

From the description of Papers, 1897-1904. (College of William & Mary). WorldCat record id: 19997587

U.S. Secretary of State, 1898-1905.

From the description of Letter : Washington, to Wm. Buchanan, 1901 Jan. 12. (Buffalo History Museum). WorldCat record id: 33633211

Hay was private secretary to and biographer of Abraham Lincoln, as well as an author, a diplomat, and secretary of state.

From the description of Receipt, September 5, 1864. (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library). WorldCat record id: 697840878

John Hay was private secretary to President Lincoln. He became Secretary of State in 1898.

From the description of Miscellaneous manuscripts, 1864. (University of Pennsylvania Library). WorldCat record id: 190822047

John Hay was an American author and statesman. He was assistant secretary to Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and secretary of state under William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt (1898-1905).

From the description of Papers of John Hay and Abraham Lincoln, 1840-1911. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122412030

Biographical Note

  • 1838, Oct. 8: Born, Salem, Ind.
  • 1858: Graduated, Brown University, Providence, R.I.
  • 1859: Entered law office of Milton Hay, Springfield, Ill.
  • 1861 - 1864 : Assistant private secretary to Abraham Lincoln
  • 1864 - 1865 : Assistant adjutant general in the United States army
  • 1865 - 1867 : Secretary of American legation, Paris, France
  • 1867 - 1868 : Charge d'affaires, Vienna, Austria
  • 1869 - 1870 : Secretary of American legation, Madrid, Spain
  • 1870 - 1875 : Editorial writer, New York Tribune
  • 1874: Married Clara Louise Stone (died 1914)
  • 1879 - 1881 : Assistant secretary of state
  • 1881: Editor, New York Tribune
  • 1897 - 1898 : Ambassador to Great Britain
  • 1898 - 1905 : Secretary of state
  • 1905, July 1: Died, Lake Sunapee, N.H.

From the guide to the John Hay Papers, 1783-1999, (bulk 1897-1905), (Manuscript Division Library of Congress)

John Milton Hay was born Oct. 8, 1838, in Salem, Indiana, and raised in Illinois, the third son of Dr. Charles Hay and his wife Helen (nee Leonard). In 1851 John went to an academy at Pittsfield in Pike County, where he met an older student, John G. Nicolay, who would play an important role in Hay's later career.

In 1852, John Hay attended Concordia College at Springfield, Illinois (later Illinois State University); but three years later he was sent to Brown, from which his maternal grandfather, David Augustus Leonard, had graduated as a member of the Class of 1792. At Brown, Hay was admitted to advanced standing and could have finished college in 1857, but finding himself behind in some areas, he wrote home that he preferred to pursue a more leisurely pace so as "to avail myself of the literary treasures of the libraries." While at Brown, Hay came under the influence of Sarah Helen Whitman and Nora Perry, and was received into their literary circle. Appointed Class Poet, he read a poem of his own composition entitled "Erato" at Class Day (June 10, 1858) of his senior year, captivating his audience.

Following his graduation from Brown that year with an M.A. degree, Hay found himself in Springfield, studying law in the office of his uncle Milton Hay. Fortuitously, Milton Hay's office was next door to the law office of Abraham Lincoln . Lincoln was persuaded by his secretary, John Nicolay, to hire Hay as an assistant private secretary, and Hay thus became a member of the White House household. Early in 1864, Hay was named Assistant Adjutant-general in the Army and detailed to the White House with the successive ranks of major, lieutenant colonel, and colonel.

In March 1865, Hay was appointed by Lincoln as secretary to the American legation in Paris, where he remained until 1867. In 1867, he moved on to Vienna as Chargé d'Affaires, and in 1869 he became Secretary of Legation in Madrid. Returning to the United States in 1870, he went to work for Whitelaw Reid as editorial writer and night editor for the New York Tribune. During the next 5 years, Hay's popularity as a literary figure and public speaker rose. Two of his best known poems, "Little breeches" (1870) and "Jim Bludso" (1871), were well-received features in the Tribune. In 1871 Hay published two popular booklength works, Pike County ballads and other pieces and Castilian days . His editorials on political affairs, both domestic and foreign, were widely read.

Hay's marriage in 1874 to Clara L. Stone, daughter of wealthy Amasa Stone of Cleveland, would assure him financial independence and changed his life. He resigned from the Tribune and moved to Cleveland to conduct the financial affairs of his father-in-law, and found himself free to resume writing. He and John Nicolay began their monumental ten volume work, Abraham Lincoln: a History which was finally published in 1890. He also authored the novel The Breadwinners (1884) which attacked the rising trade union movement. In 1878, however, he moved back to Washington to join the State Department as Assistant Secretary of State during the Hayes administration. There, he and Henry Adams occupied adjoining town houses designed by H. H. Richardson at 800 Sixteenth Street, N.W., across from the White House. In 1881, while Whitelaw Reid was in Europe, Hay served as editor of the Tribune; then, having decided to give up politics, he began his own travels. For the next dozen years, Hay continued to be involved in domestic political affairs as a private citizen.

When his friend William McKinley was elected president in 1896, Hay's political star grew brighter; he was appointed ambassador to Great Britain the following year, where he was much admired and succeeded in improving American relations with Britain. In September 1898, he was brought back to Washington to take up the post of Secretary of State, which he held until his death.

The stressful events of the next few years - the end of the Spanish-American War, the "Open Door" policy in China, the Boxer Rebellion, the Russo-Japanese War, the Alaska boundary treaty, and the Panama Canal treaty - eventually took their toll, and Hay, who had been in ill health for most of this time, died at his summer home, "The Fells," on the shores of Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire, on July 1, 1905.

From the guide to the John Hay papers, Hay (John) papers, 1829-1916, (John Hay Library Special Collections)

John Milton Hay (1838-1905) was an American politician and poet who served as Secretary of State from 1838-1905 and who made substantial contributions to American foreign policy.

John Milton Hay was born October 8, 1838 in Salem, Indiana, although his parents, Dr. Charles and Helen (Leonard) Hay, relocated the family to Warsaw, Illinois during Hay's early childhood. He graduated from Brown University in 1858, being named "Class Poet" and then returned briefly to Warsaw. Shortly after, Hay was granted the opportunity to serve as a private secretary to President Abraham Lincoln. In May 1865, he was appointed as secretary to the American Legation in Paris, France. Over the next years, Hay held various diplomatic posts. However, it was not until 1897 that Hay gained an appointment to Ambassador to Great Britain. This was followed by President William McKinley naming Hay as Secretary of State in 1898. While in this office, Hay constructed the Open Door Policy, allowing for open trade with China. Hay maintained his post during President Theodore Roosevelt's presidency and was influential in the Panama Canal negotiations. He remained at this post until his death on July 1, 1905.

From the guide to the John Hay Letters, 1886-1915, (Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries)

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Subjects:

  • Historians--United States
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