To catch a thief at the National ArchivesBreaking News
The unusual crime began to unravel last September, when Dean Thomas of Gettysburg, Pa., had the sensation of déjà vu while reading an eBay offer for three Civil War documents from 1861 and 1862 that his brother was bidding on for him. Thomas, who publishes Civil War and American Revolution history books, got up from his desk and looked into one of his many black binders, the one that holds the letters he photocopied some 20 years earlier at the Philly National Archives. There, he found the same ones he was seeing on eBay, being sold by a private seller, “hchapel.” His brother won the bid on a Sunday night and the purchase went through for $298.88. Payment was to be delivered to Denning McTague of Philadelphia; his full address and contact information clearly printed. “It wasn’t very secretive,” says Thomas.
The next morning he called up an acquaintance at the archives and asked if there was a sale of original documents under way. There wasn’t, so Thomas called up the Archives’ Inspector General’s office. A quick search revealed that 164 documents were missing, and soon the National Archives Archival Recovery Team (ART) got to work. Like most of McTague’s other eBay clients, Thomas quickly returned his letters. Only three documents are still missing.
comments powered by Disqus
- This New York Times ‘Hitler’ book review sure reads like a thinly veiled Trump comparison
- Chicago Tribune editorial: The government should release secret grand jury testimony about its 1942 scoop: "Jap Plan to Strike at Sea"
- US owes blacks reparations over slavery: UN experts
- Mali Islamist jailed for nine years for Timbuktu shrine attacks
- Poland wrestles with its past — and present
- What Historians Are Saying About the First Trump-Clinton Debate
- Princeton professor documents the movement that ended single-sex education at elite schools
- Annette Gordon-Reed tells historians the controversy over Harvard law school's shield is different from the fight over the Confederate flag
- Historian EP Thompson denounced Communist party chiefs, files show
- Voting opens soon for the leaders of the OAH in 2017