Forbes Smiley Case: Fallout at Yale’s Beinecke Library
The Hartford Courant’s Kim Martineau has been on the Forbes Smiley case for months, and has generally led the reporting on the story (see the Map Thefts category archive for earlier coverage). In today’s edition, she has a story that looks at the fallout from the case at the library from which Smiley is accused of stealing maps: Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. In addition to a discussion of making high-resolution digital copies of the rare maps (and concomitantly limiting access to the originals), which is the focus of the somewhat misleading headline, and the FBI’s attempts to retrieve the stolen maps, there are the following points of information about the Beinecke:
The fallout has quietly circled back to Yale. In November, Fred Musto, the curator who oversaw the map collection for about a decade, was cited for gross mismanagement and fired, according to sources. At about the same time, Yale closed its collection and began painstakingly picking through its maps, sheet by sheet. …
The inventory is probably long overdue. The reading rooms were full of nooks beyond view of the curator and his assistant and folders filled with maps would sometimes be given to patrons without the material being counted before and after use, according to dealers and a professor who has used the collection. In a recent posting on an online map discussion group, a former map curator at Yale, Barbara McCorkle, said she would have welcomed an inventory had she been given the resources.
The curator fired, the library closed for inventory — these are serious responses.