The information on this page—including the Master List, was prepared in late November, 2006. Listed institutions have declined comment, nor have they reported items recovered since the lists were published. Therefore, it should be understood that these lists are no longer accurate indicators of the status of maps missing and/or recovered. In fact, the lists' only real value now is to serve as a historical record, and perhaps be used as a template in the future, if and when institutions feel there is some value in working together.—JW.
As reported on The Map Room: a Weblog about Maps “E. Forbes Smiley III pleaded guilty…” on June 22, 1996 to stealing a map from Yale University, and also admitted to taking almost 100 maps from other libaries. Some days later, PDF files of various court documents were released to the public. These included:
In subsequent discussion about the case, the quality of some evidence presented by the FBI was widely criticised. As one observer put it, “Any trainee map cataloger who produced a listing as incompetent as this … would be in line for a swift dismissal.” Indeed, a casual glance at the PDF files cited above reveals that although they may have served their purpose in court, they are pretty close to useless in identifying the actual missing maps.
In the weeks following the court case, various map libraries examined their collections to determine what items were missing from their own inventories, and several institutions have released their own lists to the public:
Although these lists are more informative than the government's “Exhibit A,” the only way to find a map of particular interest is to separately scan each list. And of course the list formats don't offer a “look” at the listed items (with the exception of the New York Public Library list).
As a searching aid, each list can be re-worked into a format that allows it to be sorted by any category, as shown by these three examples:
As a further aid, the lists from each institution can be merged into a single Master List format, as shown here:
If you have any information that would lead to the recovery of any of these items, please contact one of the following: