Stolen docs returned to library
Historical articles recovered by Bailey/Howe staffers after special collections scam artist arrested
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 00:09
After unexpected trips to New York and Washington, D.C., several historical documents were returned to their rightful home in Bailey/Howe.
Historian and collector Barry Landau gained access to and eventually stole from the library’s Special Collections last summer by promoting himself as an acclaimed presidential historian, said Jeffrey D. Marshall, director of research collections and University archivist.
“We don’t know exactly what techniques he and his associates may have used to steal from us, but clearly he has had a lot of experience,” Marshall said.
Some of the documents included autographs from Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and William Howard Taft, according to a previous Cynic article.
“We recovered the documents that were used as evidence and were clearly identifiable as ours,” Marshall said.
Because Special Collections does not have a catalog for every document in the collection, which holds over one million documents, there is no way to know if every single item was retrieved, he said.
The more valuable items have been returned, while some less valuable documents that National Archives is investigating — such as menus, tickets and business cards —are still being held, Marshall said.
After being contacted by National Archives in mid-August, Marshall was able to personally retrieve the stolen documents earlier this month when he flew to Washington, D.C.
“The National Archives, working with the FBI, took the lead in sorting and identifying documents from many libraries that were recovered from Mr. Landau,” Marshall said.
Landau has since been sentenced to seven years in prison after being found guilty of theft of historical documents from four different institutions, according to a National Archives press release.
Ever since the documents have been stolen, Special Collections no longer allows book bags to be brought in and requires a form of identification before entering.
Security cameras have also been installed, Marshall said.