Comments on: Another reason not to become a “presidential historian” http://www.historiann.com/2011/07/14/another-reason-not-to-become-a-presidential-historian/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:41:03 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2011/07/14/another-reason-not-to-become-a-presidential-historian/comment-page-1/#comment-848550 Sun, 17 Jul 2011 03:27:18 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15910#comment-848550 Ha! What a hack. That would set off my BS detector, for sure. And what a cheapskate too, trying to buy off archivists with a crummy box of cookies. The guy should be jailed just for harassing archivists, IMHO.

I’m the kind of scholar who works with one volume of records for weeks at a time, so now I understand why archivists are happy to let me come and read even outside of official days/hours. . . (and I gift more than a crummy box of cookies from a convenience store too, BTW.)

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By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2011/07/14/another-reason-not-to-become-a-presidential-historian/comment-page-1/#comment-848500 Sat, 16 Jul 2011 21:33:45 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15910#comment-848500 There’s a follow-up story on this case in the NYT today. Another major Middle Atlantic repository was onto the guy already because he “filled out call slips incorrectly and worked through boxes of material in alphabetical order rather than by topic.” He “brought the staff Pepperidge Farm cookies.” He “exasperated [them] with the sheer volume of material” he requested, probably amounting to “hundreds of boxes.” “What are you looking for,” they said to him, “Just tell us. You’re driving us nuts here…” I guess there’s a “Best Research Practices Council” now with guidelines on how you work an archive. Watch out you quirky scholars, you’re burning out staff!!! And all this mayhem on just three half-days a week of opening hours!

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By: Liz2 http://www.historiann.com/2011/07/14/another-reason-not-to-become-a-presidential-historian/comment-page-1/#comment-848214 Fri, 15 Jul 2011 19:24:23 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15910#comment-848214 My spouse is an archivist and has seen some outrageous cases of theft – from collectors, historians and the archivists! Some archives are just poorly managed and so it is really quite easy to steal from them. Additionally, the staff in independent archives are often poorly paid and not actually trained as archivists allowing for a mentality that sees little wrong with “stealing some old stuff” that nets them a supplemental income.

My husband used to be a collector (and still does in one particular area unrelated to his archives) but he views it as unprofessional to personally collect in the focus areas of his archives, even though he used to do so. But I don’t think there is any official code of conduct in those terms for archivists, just his own moral code.

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2011/07/14/another-reason-not-to-become-a-presidential-historian/comment-page-1/#comment-848167 Fri, 15 Jul 2011 13:02:12 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15910#comment-848167 The Tea Partiers are wrong, but they’re a helluva lot smarter than lefties in organizing and putting pressure on the system outside of the Republican party. It’s because of the Tea Party in large part we’re watching this fake showdown over the deficit and national debt. They got their nominal concern to the top of the U.S. agenda in fewer than 2 years!

If only leftists and progressives had their guts. . .

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By: Sisyphus http://www.historiann.com/2011/07/14/another-reason-not-to-become-a-presidential-historian/comment-page-1/#comment-848075 Fri, 15 Jul 2011 02:46:12 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15910#comment-848075 Awww, you switched it! How nice!

Now I want to post that sign all over Tea Party and other right-wing forums….

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By: joellecid http://www.historiann.com/2011/07/14/another-reason-not-to-become-a-presidential-historian/comment-page-1/#comment-848064 Fri, 15 Jul 2011 00:47:01 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15910#comment-848064 It’s totally crazy to call yourself a historian and steal from archives. The idea of documents out of public hands is so anathema to what we do. But none of my documents are worth anything close to $100,000. I guess pulp fiction just doesn’t rate high on the presidential scale.

But maybe he read one of my favorite novels — A.S. Byatt’s Possession — which has everything to do with theft from the archives. Even though the villain is a collector rather than a true scholar, and the hero does ‘fess up at the end.

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By: HistoryMaven http://www.historiann.com/2011/07/14/another-reason-not-to-become-a-presidential-historian/comment-page-1/#comment-848061 Fri, 15 Jul 2011 00:22:53 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15910#comment-848061 I wonder if they used anyone from the “History Detectives” or “Antiques Roadshow” to assess the monetary value of the allegedly stolen documents.

Our local untrained history buff-local historian isn’t allowed in any archives or library in the area. Seems a lot of archivists and librarians and others are waiting for him to die so that they may retrieve all the items he decided to take home for safekeeping. According to one librarian, he believes that the stuff is in better hands since he knows the “real” value.

I’m always asked what I, as a material culture studies type, collect. I don’t. I really don’t have the money or the time, but I think it’s a problematic position for a historian. Having worked with collectors I understand the quest. And I’ve had to review many a book about a type of object (needlework, for example) in which the author-collector-expert has depended on current market values to frame the historical interpretation. Drives me nuts.

I’m fascinated that bail was withheld. With no priors, a permanent home, and presumably a decent bank account (and the value of his own collection), has the judge watched too many episodes of “Hoarders”? What’s up with that?

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By: Digger http://www.historiann.com/2011/07/14/another-reason-not-to-become-a-presidential-historian/comment-page-1/#comment-848056 Fri, 15 Jul 2011 00:15:25 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15910#comment-848056 I agree with Feminist Avatar, the super big thefts are often to order, so fencing isn’t an issue.

Re: denial of bail: I would guess that they believe that’s the best way to make sure they find as many of the documents this guy stole as possible. If he’d been out on bail, he could burn them, ship them, fence them or hand them off to someone else to do the legwork. I am assuming, of course, that there were probably many more docs than what were found in the locker!

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By: Feminist Avatar http://www.historiann.com/2011/07/14/another-reason-not-to-become-a-presidential-historian/comment-page-1/#comment-848010 Thu, 14 Jul 2011 20:56:32 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15910#comment-848010 For the really big famous docs, I imagine it was stolen to order (now, I wonder if I could do research that way… hmm, they’re not paying me enough).

Seriously, I know of quite a few stories about stolen archival material, including one where it was an archivist stealing material. I also have experienced visiting an archive to look at documents on a particular theme and having them all be missing. And, I don’t mean there was a file missing (which happens all the time), but rather individuals letters that all related to the same theme were missing from a wide variety of files. I told the archvist about the first few, but she was getting more and more upset, so I just stopped telling her. Who knows where they went…

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By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2011/07/14/another-reason-not-to-become-a-presidential-historian/comment-page-1/#comment-848006 Thu, 14 Jul 2011 20:22:22 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=15910#comment-848006 Throw in the murder of a monk, and THAT’s a script for L&O!

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