HAY, JOHN MILTON (8 Oct. 1838-1 July 1905), diplomat, statesman, U.S. secretary of state, and historian, was born in Salem, Ind., to Dr. Charley and Helen Leonard Hay. He graduated from Brown University, Providence, R.I. (1858), and studied law with his uncle, Milton Hay, whose offices adjoined those of Abraham Lincoln. Hay was admitted to the bar in 1861, and accompanied Lincoln to Washington as his private secretary. He was subsequently given the rank of colonel and assigned to the White House officially as a military aide, serving Lincoln until his assassination. Secretary of State Wm. H. Seward appointed Hay secretary to the legations in Paris (1865-67), Vienna (1867-68), and Madrid (1869-70). Returning to the U.S., Hay became an editorial writer for the New York Tribune. In 1874, he married Clara Louise Stone, daughter of AMASA STONE, moving to Cleveland in 1875 and remaining until 1886, working for his father-in-law and serving on various civic and cultural boards. Hay was a local celebrity, but became bored with Cleveland society, expressing his views in his anonymously authored The Bread Winners. Hay moved his family to Washington. In 1890 he and John Nicolay authored the 10-volume Abraham Lincoln: A History. In 1896 Hay campaigned for Wm. McKinley, and in 1897 was rewarded with appointment as ambassador to Great Britain. Appointed secretary of state in 1898, Hay participated in events attendant upon the Spanish-American War, enunciated the "Open Door" policy concerning China, and, under Theodore Roosevelt, aided treaty negotiations leading to construction of the Panama Canal. Hay had 4 children: Alice (Wadsworth), Helen (Whitney), Clarence, and Adelbert. He died in Newbury, N.H., but was buried in Cleveland at LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.
Dennett, Tyler. John Hay (1933).
John Hay Papers, Illinois Historical Society, Springfield, Ill.