National Archives Stolen Documents Case Makes History | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

National Archives Stolen Documents Case Makes History

Play associated audio

When investigators seeking stolen historical documents from the National Archives showed up to search the apartment of a New York presidential memorabilia collector, they brought just a few boxes — they had no idea what they were in for.

The documents are being called "priceless," and they include handwritten letters and manuscripts from famous individuals like John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, and Benjamin Franklin.

Mitch Yockelson, an investigative archivist with the National Archives, helped look into the case of collector Barry Landau, and says items were found throughout the home.

"We found what appeared to be documents of historic value all over the place — in his bedroom, in his kitchen area, in his living room," says Yockelson.

He says a letter written by Benjamin Franklin was lying on an ottoman.

"Not only did we have to rent a truck, but we had to go across the street to the office supply store, and we literally bought them out of file boxes."

Yockelson says when he walked into the apartment, he had no idea that thousands of documents would be uncovered.

"This ultimately turned out to be what we believe is what largest theft of historical documents, literally in history."

Landau and his assistant, Jason Savedoff, are both serving prison sentences.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, July 28

You can see two solo exhibits featuring work that speaks in metaphor.
NPR

Rust Devastates Guatemala's Prime Coffee Crop And Its Farmers

Central American coffee farmers are facing off against a deadly fungus that has wiped out thousands of acres of crops. Coffee companies like Starbucks are pooling money to support them in the fight.
NPR

When Did Companies Become People? Excavating The Legal Evolution

The Supreme Court has been granting more rights to corporations, including some regarded as those solely for individuals. But Nina Totenberg finds the company-to-person shift has a long history.
NPR

What It's Like To Own Your Very Own Harrier Jump Jet

The Harrier Jump Jet is known for vertical take-offs and landings. It also has an accident-prone track record, but that didn't dissuade one pilot from buying his dream plane.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.