I’ve pasted  a link at the end of this entry, which will lead you to David Ferriero’s post on The National Archives blog AOTUS about a theft that occurred when Ferriero was the Andrew W. Mellon Director of the New York Public Libraries. The perpetrator of the crime was E. Forbes Smiley III who stole more than 70 maps from the Map Division and Rare Books division. Mr Smiley was a rare map dealer and a trusted friend of the New York Public Library. Of the 70 maps stolen only 33 were ever recovered.

One of the items is the patent of the Wright Brothers’ Flying Machine Patent, last seen at the National Archives in 1979. You can actually view a copy of the patent with a diagram. There are others.

You can help with the recovery effort by reporting to NARA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) if you spot any of these artifacts. The OIG’s art recovery team can help you if you think you may be in possession of a lost or stolen item.


2 Comments on The National Archives AOTUS on The Impact of Theft

  1. F. Crew says:

    It’s hard to believe a so called friend and evidently a well known friend of the library would so this.

  2. Mary K says:

    It is unbelievable that such a theft was allowed to happen. I was saddened to learn that not all of the documents were recovered. I hope and would love to learn that Mr. Smiley is no longer smiling and that he received jail time and a great fine so as to deter anyone else who might be entertaining the notion of taking some historical documents.

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