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In the early afternoon of January 10th, 1931, an itinerant man from Pinetown, North Carolina, shivering in the New York winter, walked up the long steps of the Fifth Avenue entrance to the New York Public Library. It was a trip he’d made a dozen times in as many days and his plan was the same: get warm, then request from the library’s rare book collection a few of its treasures. But unlike his earlier visits, these books wouldn’t be returning to the stacks.
Join us Wednesday, May 8 at 3 p.m. in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library for the full story of this brazen book thievery in Depression Era New York City as told by University of Illinois Law Library's Curator of Rare Law Books, Travis McDade.
McDade’s second work of nonfiction, Thieves of Book Row (Oxford University Press, May 2013), recounts a time when east coast libraries suffered from organized looting. However, the New York Public Library theft, and its subsequent investigation, brought down an entire gang.
Hot-off-the-press copies of Thieves of Book Row will be available for purchase at the talk. All are welcome!