It happens rarely – but it does happen. People steal manuscripts, autographs, stamps, seals, maps and illustrations from libraries. Last July, Barry Landau, author of The President’s Table: Two Hundred Years of Dining and Diplomacy (2007), was caught with an accomplice, Jason Savedoff, stealing documents from the Maryland Historical Society. Since then, police have found about 10,000 documents in their apartment.
‘I cannot believe it,’ Lynn von Furstenberg, the second wife of Prince Egon von Furstenberg and a close friend of Landau’s for many years, told The Daily Beast. ‘The things I’ve been reading about him in the press are not the Barry I know. He’s just this gregarious, sweet, sensitive human being.’
Well yes, maybe. On Amazon, Landau is described as a ‘historian’ – but as those of us in the profession well know, anyone can call themselves a historian. There’s no quality control outside the university system, and since non-academic historians do a lot of important work, I don’t really want any – but sometimes someone goes rogue. Continue reading