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Stealing History

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
The Folger Shakespeare Library’s vault is in the basement of the facility on East Capitol Street. The Folger’s underground vault protects some of its most precious records, including 82 copies of Shakespeare’s First Folio.

That’s the statute Landau and Savedoff were prosecuted under.

In 2008, Raymond Scott brought a 17th-century book to the Folger and asked the library’s authentication experts to certify that the book he found was one of Shakespeare’s First Folios. It was authenticated, but the certifying committee knew that there were only 232 copies in the world, and they were all accounted for. 

“It was stolen from the Durham University in the UK,” Enniss said. An information-sharing system with other institutions has since been put in place, and there have been no major instances of theft since.

Each institution stresses the importance of staying vigilant against theft and asks the public to say something, if they see something.

“We show up where a lot of people don’t show up,” Brachfeld said. “We maintain a Facebook page to reach out to the public to let them know that their history is at risk. And to let them know that we are trying to address this threat.”

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