And “egregious instances of theft” from the National Archives

This isn’t exactly like the movie National Treasure … for that you need my autobiography.  Still, this can go into your Just Too Cool file from the WaPo.

In National Archives thefts, a radio detective gets his man
By Del Quentin Wilber and Lisa Rein

NEWTOWN, Conn. — J. David Goldin, an eccentric 69-year-old with a handlebar mustache and an obsession with radio, was trolling eBay one evening in September 2010, looking for old radios and recordings, when he spotted an item that piqued his interest: the master copy of a broadcast radio interview with baseball legend Babe Ruth as he hunted for quail and pheasants on a crisp morning in 1937.

For a moment, Goldin contemplated bidding. It was the kind of historic recording that would fit perfectly in his collection of more than 100,000 radio broadcasts, all meticulously enhanced and preserved on tapes stored in thin white boxes on a maze of shelves in his humidity- and temperature-controlled basement “vault.” Then he leaned closer to his computer, adjusted his thick glasses and studied the record’s photograph and description.

What happened next would set in motion a federal investigation with a twist worthy of a classic radio drama.

Goldin exposed what authorities have called “one of the most egregious instances of theft” from the National Archives, where the government preserves billions of historic documents, photographs and recordings. On Thursday, that investigation is scheduled to culminate in the sentencing in Greenbelt’s federal court of a longtime Archives official who has admitted to stealing nearly 1,000 recordings, many of them rare.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Supertradmum says:

    Such events give me a renewed faith in the public…would that all men were so honest. We need to be vigilant about many things, and not take advantage of sin. Sort of the modern version of picking up stuff which fell off the proverbial “back of the truck”. Good one for Goldin.

  2. pm125 says:

    Good for Mr. Goldin.
    So many foxes get into national henhouses.

  3. Cantor says:

    As a National Archives researcher, I find this sort of thing more painful than merely reprehensible. I’m on the trail of a significant find from the War of 1812, and had a single corner of a piece of paper been “acquired” by somebody in the ensuing 200 years we’d know not a thing. Thank heavens there are watchful eyes everywhere!

  4. Sixupman says:

    How can we be certain that the apparent documents of Vatican II, upon which devastation has been let loose on Mother Church, will correlate with the actual official record of The Council, held in the Vatican Archive, if the same have not been catalogued and, apparently, some missing.

    Perhaps there are those who would wish the authentic documentation not to be available for research.

    Herein the UK there were discussions upon the EU and those government ministers, pontificating in favour, it was discovered, had not even read the documents.

  5. Kerry says:

    Good thing they caught this fellow, lest the Nation Archives be filled to overflow with nothing but historically worthless teleprompter screeds.

  6. Jenny says:

    For some reason the name Sandy Berger comes to mind.

  7. catholicmidwest says:

    Wonder if the original documents of Vatican II are going to end up on Ebay? :o

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