Forbes Smiley Case: Another Roundup

William Finnegan’s long article in the Oct. 17 issue of The New Yorker, which I mentioned in an earlier entry, wasn’t online, but it was very good — an excellent summary of what was known to date with some additional reporting. Tony Campbell, in a post to MapHist this morning, was struck by the report that several of the maps in Smiley’s possession at the time of his arrest turned out to be facsimiles. Who knows what he was doing with them, but, Tony says, “Whatever the answers, it suggests that those curators who are checking for the presence of commercially valuable American maps in early volumes may, in addition, have to be checking that they are not facsimiles.”

Tony also pointed to some new stories about this case: an article in yesterday’s New Hampshire Union Leader that reports on some of his friends and supporters, which is a departure from coverage elsewhere.

As well, and also via Tony, a press release from the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association denies (“contemptuously dismisse[s]”) map dealer Graham Arader’s allegations that a substantial portion of the maps in the marketplace are stolen. As denials go, it’s weak and self-important: they cite the guidelines that their members must adhere to, which is irrelevant to the question of how much of the marketplace is contaminated by stolen goods. Their members may not be a part of it, but that does not mean that it doesn’t exist. Less bluster and more data, please.