John Clarkson Jay was the eldest son of Peter Augustus Jay and grandson of Founding Father and Federalist, John Jay. He was a graduate of Columbia College and the College of Physicians and Surgeons - later serving as Trustee for both institutions. Jay would briefly practice medicine; however, he would devote his life to the study of natural science or first and foremost conchologist (the study of shells). Throughout his lifetime, he would collect 50,000 shell specimens. The collection would become the foundation of The American Museum of Natural History’s collection of shells. He would serve as President of The New York Historical Society; founder of the Lyceum of Natural History and the New York Yacht Club (sailing on the “La Coquille”).
He was married to Laura Prime - inheriting the Jay Property from his father in 1843.
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