Presidential Historian and Colleague Arrested in Theft of Documents in Maryland


History Buzz

Source: NYT, 7-12-11

A presidential historian and author, Barry H. Landau, was arrested with a colleague on Saturday in Baltimore on charges of stealing historical documents from the Maryland Historical Society, including ones signed by Abraham Lincoln.

Mr. Landau, a collector of presidential memorabilia based in New York City who cultivated actors and former statesmen, was taken into custody after spending several hours reviewing documents at the historical society with a colleague, Jason Savedoff, the Baltimore Police Department said.

An employee called the police to report having seen Mr. Savedoff put a document inside a laptop case and leave the building. The employee followed Mr. Savedoff to a nearby men’s bathroom and identified him when the police arrived.

When confronted by the police, Mr. Savedoff complained of stomach pains, but officers eventually found keys in his pocket, which led to a locker in a nearby building that contained 60 documents worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to an account by the police, who cited an inventory by society employees.

The police said they arrested Mr. Landau because he had signed the documents out for a viewing in the building.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is also involved in the case, and a bureau spokesman in Baltimore, Richard Wolf, said Mr. Landau had been charged but not arraigned. The authorities were still determining whether the alleged crime would fall under state or federal jurisdiction, Mr. Wolf said.

In addition to the papers signed by Lincoln, numerous inaugural ball invitations and programs worth about $500,000 and signed commemorations of the Statue of Liberty and Washington Monument were found by the employees, the police said… READ MORE

Rick Perlstein: Betty Ford, Pioneer


History Buzz

Source: NYT, 7-11-11

Vivienne Flesher

THE obituaries for Betty Ford, who died Friday at the age of 93, were filled with colorful stories about an incongruous life: former Martha Graham dancer, dispenser of scandalous comments to the media, alcohol and drug addict. So colorful, in fact, that they may crowd out her historical importance — which may well have been greater than those of her husband, President Gerald R. Ford.

Though she was never an elected official, industry titan or religious leader, few Americans changed people’s lives so dramatically for the better. I learned it for myself in the most unlikely of places: a Ford family estate sale in 2007….READ MORE

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