John Hay (1838-1905)

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John Hay (1838-1905) wrote two books of poetry, two nonfiction books, and one novel. After graduating from Brown University, he studied law with his uncle and became acquainted with Abraham Lincoln through him. He served as Lincoln’s secretary until 1864, and also fought in the Union Army during the Civil War. Hay was present at Lincoln’s assassination, and he and his friend and colleague wrote his ten-volume biography. In 1861, he was admitted to practice law in the Supreme Court, and between 1865-1870 he served as Secretary of Legation at Paris and Madrid. From 1870-1876 he left government work to be an editor at the New York Tribune. In 1878 Hay became the Assistant Secretary of State under Hayes, and was U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 1897. In 1898, Hay became Secretary of State under McKinley and helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris. He continued as Secretary of State under Theodore Roosevelt, establishing the Open Door policy in China. In 1904, Hay was selected to be one of the first seven members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His poetry books were titled Pike County Ballads and Other Poems and Poems. Many of his poems are narrative, dealing with things from war to love to the everyday. AND DC Writers’ Homes:

Written by Word Works intern Monica Root October 2013

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