History Buzz February 7, 2012: Barry Landau: History expert pleads guilty to stealing documents


History Buzz


History expert pleads guilty to stealing documents

Source: AP, 2-7-12

Historian Barry Landau walks out of federal court Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012 in Baltimore. Landau plead guilty to stealing thousands of documents from historical societies and libraries stretching from Baltimore up the East Coast..(AP Photo/Gail Burton)

A memorabilia collector and self-styled expert on presidential history pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to steal thousands of documents signed by leaders throughout U.S. history.

Barry Landau, whose knowledge of the White House earned him network morning show appearances, acknowledged in the plea to taking documents from the Maryland Historical Society and conspiring with his assistant to steal historical documents from several institutions with the intent of selling them.

Thousands of documents were seized from Landau’s artifact-filled Manhattan apartment. Prosecutors say he schemed for years, if not decades, to steal valuable documents signed by historical figures from both sides of the Atlantic including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Marie Antoinette, and Charles Dickens. The oldest document listed in the plea was dated 1479.

The assistant pleaded guilty in October to the same charges: theft of major artwork and conspiracy to commit theft of major artwork. The pleas capped a case that was a wake-up call for archives and historical institutions nationwide to strengthen their security, prompting checks for visits by the pair and whether anything from historical collections was missing.

David S. Ferriero, archivist of the United States, said in a statement Tuesday evening that, “I am outraged that Mr. Landau who fashioned himself as a Presidential historian violated the public trust at many of our nation’s greatest historical repositories.”...READ MORE

History Buzz February 7, 2012: Barry Landau: Professional Hobnobbing Historian Seizes Art From Maryland


History Buzz


Barry Landau: Professional Hobnobbing Historian Seizes Art From Maryland

A presidential historian is expected to plead guilty in a case in which he is accused of stealing documents signed by leading figures throughout western history.

Barry Landau, a New York City author and collector, is accused of taking documents from the Maryland Historical Society and conspiring to steal documents from that institution and others in the Northeast with his 24-year-old assistant, Jason Savedoff, who pleaded guilty in October.

Landau was on Martha Stewart in 2007, to promote his book The President’s Table, about the history of entertaining in the White House

The 63-year-old previously pleaded not guilty, but a rearraignment hearing scheduled Tuesday indicates he will change his plea. Prosecutors and his attorney have refused to comment….READ MORE


Barry H. Landau: Held in Document Theft, ‘America’s Presidential Historian’ Faces New Scrutiny

Barry H. Landau: Held in Document Theft, ‘America’s Presidential Historian’ Faces New Scrutiny


History Buzz

Source: NYT, 7-16-11

Barry H. Landau, author and well-known presidential memorabilia collector, displayed his connections like pearls on a necklace.

Baltimore Police Department, via Associated Press

Barry H. Landau

Photographs of him with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin and Martha Stewart adorn his Web site, adding celebrity credentials to the title he has given himself: “America’s presidential historian.”

So it was all the more noteworthy when Mr. Landau, 63, who is based in New York City, was arrested last Saturday at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore and charged with stealing historical documents, including ones signed by Abraham Lincoln.

Mr. Landau’s lawyer, Steve Silverman, said he expected Mr. Landau would plead not guilty. He criticized the decision to hold Mr. Landau without bail, and said he had filed a habeas corpus petition to have the ruling reconsidered.

“It’s outrageous,” Mr. Silverman said. “He’s somewhat of a public figure. He’s been on TV shows, and his picture is posted all over the media. There’s little to no risk of flight.”

As the F.B.I. continued to investigate — Mr. Landau had not been arraigned as of Friday — other historical societies were checking their records to see if he had ever visited. Laura Washington, a spokeswoman for the New-York Historical Society, said that he had, and that staff members were going through the records to determine how often.

Lee Arnold, senior director of the library and collections at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, said that Mr. Landau had visited 17 times between December and May, along with Jason Savedoff, 24, who had been working with Mr. Landau and who was arrested with him last weekend….READ MORE

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

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