Without a trace – Items missing from Archives

“National Archives visitors know they’ll find the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights in the main building’s magnificent rotunda in Washington. But they won’t find the patent file for the Wright Brothers’ Flying Machine or the maps for the first atomic bomb missions anywhere in the Archives inventory.
Many historical items the Archives once possessed are missing, including:
_Civil War telegrams from Abraham Lincoln.
_Original signatures of Andrew Jackson.
_Presidential portraits of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
_NASA photographs from space and on the moon.
_Presidential pardons.
Some were stolen by researchers or Archives employees. Others simply disappeared without a trace. And there’s more gone from the nation’s record keeper……
“We do not have item-by-item control,” said Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper. “We can’t. We have 9 billion documents. We don’t know exactly what’s in each of those boxes. There’s no point in preserving materials that cannot be used.”
Each missing historical item has its own story.
_From 1969 to 1980, the patent file for the Wright Brothers Flyer was passed around multiple Archives offices, the Patents and Trademarks Office and the National Air and Space Museum. It was returned to the Archives in 1979, and was last seen in 1980.
_In 1962, military representatives checked out the target maps for the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. The maps have been missing ever since.
_In May 2004, one of FDR’s grandsons asked to see a portrait of his grandfather at the Roosevelt presidential library in Hyde Park, N.Y. It couldn’t be found, and hasn’t been seen since 2001.
_Shaun Aubitz, a former employee at the Archives’ facility in Philadelphia, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 21 months in prison in 2002 for stealing – among other items – 71 pardons signed by Presidents James Madison, James Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes and Lincoln. The Archives recovered 59 of the records that had been sold to manuscript dealers and collectors.
_In 2005, researcher Howard Harner was sentenced to two years in prison, two years probation, and a $10,000 fine after pleading guilty to stealing more than 100 Civil War-era documents from the Archives between 1996 and 2002. Fewer than half were recovered.
_A 40-year-old National Archives intern in Philadelphia stole 160 Civil War documents. About half were sold on eBay. The documents included telegrams about the troops’ weaponry, the War Department’s announcement of Lincoln’s death sent to soldiers, and a letter from famed Confederate cavalryman James Ewell Brown Stuart.
A financially strapped Denning McTague was sentenced in the case to 15 months in prison in 2007. He had told a psychiatrist that he was angry that his internship was unpaid.
On the Web:
List of missing items: http://www.archives.gov/research/recover/missing-documents.html
Archives home page: http://www.archives.gov


Diesen Blogbeitrag zitieren
wolfthomas (2009, 4. Juli). Without a trace – Items missing from Archives. Archivalia. Abgerufen am 26. Mai 2024, von https://doi.org/10.58079/bum0

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