Musings on Library/Archive Security

Amy's Scrap Bag: A Blog About Libraries, Archives, and History

I recently read The Map Thiefby Michael Blanding, a book I chose for my library’s book club. This true crime story focuses on Edward Forbes Smiley III, a rare maps dealer turned rare map thief. In short, Smiley lived above his means and later had to resort to thievery in order to maintain his standard of living. Maps were the perfect choice as Smiley not only has access, but often they were not cataloged well so the provenance of the maps was not easy to trace. He betrayed fellow map dealers and librarians at various rare book and map libraries as he sold stolen goods to the former and betrayed the latter. Over all, he admitted to stealing hundreds of maps worth over $2 million. Hundred more maps were uncovered as missing in addition, to which Smiley had once had access to some. Presented alongside Smiley’s story is…

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