Inaugural Margaret Nolan O’Neill Fellowship Presentation – September 8 at 6pm

The Margaret Nolan O’Neill Fellowship at the Jay Heritage Center was established in 2022 to advance scholarship in American History and foster respectful dialogue of topics relevant to the evolution of our nation, the shaping of its democracy and place in the global arena. Inspired by Maggie O’Neill’s own passion for intellectual discourse and boundless curiosity about our country’s history and political landscape, it affords the opportunity for an undergraduate or graduate student at Columbia University to pursue a 10-week course of study and includes a stipend for an immersive summer experience.

This year’s O’Neill Fellow, Fenway Donegan, Class of 2025, has conducted research supervised by Professor Lynne Breslin, the architect and historian, on the impact of land transfers and confiscation laws in the Revolutionary period. In his application he wrote, Researching at the Jay Heritage Center would allow me to bring in the writings of John Jay, who played a crucial role in ending the seizure of Loyalist property by newly independent colonial governments during his role as a peace commissioner during the Treaty of Paris.

Fenway has compared public reactions to bills of attainder and “other instances of property seizure and the legal voiding of property rights,” research that he hopes will contribute to our understanding “of the United States government’s ability to seize land held by private individuals and the limits to Americans’ conceptions of their property rights.” His work extends to studying the seizure of Indigenous lands in the 17th and 18th century. In his presentation he will demonstrate how the Confiscation Acts helped to shape the current political and social landscape of New York.

A reception and refreshments in the Jay Estate Gardens will follow the talk. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP here.

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The support of many individuals has been invaluable in creating this fellowship and will provide for future scholarship. On behalf of the O’Neill Family and the Jay Heritage Center, we extend our heartfelt thanks to those helping us to transform the 23-acre Jay Estate into a place that inspires meaningful study and discussion of our country’s founding and future. Special thanks also to Michael Gately and Ariella Lang at Columbia University for facilitating this partnership.

Donations in Memory of Maggie O’Neill

The Arches Foundation
Lucy and David Ball
Shawna and Donald Barrett
The Martha K. and Richard N. Bradt Family Fund
Ellen and Donald Cacciapaglia
Suzanne and Rich Clary
Gretchen and Peter Crowley
Cynthia and Bernie Curry
Leslie and Bob Dahl
John Daily
Meg and Demie Duckworth
Vivi and Lester Duke

Calvine and Douglas Dunnan
Maureen and Oran Kirkpatrick
Brad Gay and Karen Kirkwood
Janet and Campbell T. Gerrish
Laurie and Britton Jones
Sarah Kavanagh
Heidi Greene and Michael Kluger
Sarah and John B. Lindahl, Jr.
Sarah Maynard
Barbara and Michael McQueeney
Beverly and Michael Muessel

Grace and David Munschauer
Christy and Tom Murphy
The Nolan Family Foundation
The O’Neill Family
Hilary and Charles Parkhurst
Janie and Jeff Plank
Elizabeth and Stanley Ringer
Sadler Charitable Fund
Claire and Rafael Steinberg
Boo and Moose Stroud
Ann and Thomas Vinci
Winokur Family Foundation

Our apologies for any errors or omissions