Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Map thefts at Yale

Article published 8/29/05 "Our Nation of Thieves", by Rachel Shteir, author of Striptease: The Untold History of the Girle SHow, in the LA Times. She claims "we are in the middle of an epidemic of stealing," citing the various financial scandals, and online music file swapping as evidence. And she says shoplifting is increasingly called "theft addiction", which I've never heard. Interesting positions, but not entirely persuasive.

Home page of E. Forbes Smiley III, map collector and dealer caught red-handed on June 8th with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of rare maps stuffed in his jacket and briefcase. Boston Globe article by Jenna Russell includes interesting details. For example, one of the items Smiley appears to have stolen from Yale is a $50,000 map of New England from 1614 drawn by Captain John Smith of Jamestown. The article also contains Smiley's mug shots, and ends with a quotation from his competitor W. Graham Arader III: "It's time these things [i.e., the antique maps] were cataloged like diamonds." Tony Campbell maintains an index of articles on the map thefts, and there's a page dedicated exclusively to Smiley-related events, wherein Campbell opines, "Rare books librarians, this is your call. Map specialists would certainly be ready to assist. But if you do no more than wring your hands over the present disaster you could reasonably be held responsible for the next [theft]" (emphasis his). Report from Yale Detective posted by Everett Wilkie August 18 2005.

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