Indian archives in peril!

Poor storage conditions, sticky fingers, and lack of solid government aid/management now leave several (if not dozens more) archival collections without chance for preservation or location.

From the NYTimes article by Dinyar Patel, quoting historian Ramachandra Guha:

“Archives are the lowest priority for any government,”…“They are staffed by government officials on punishment postings rather than trained professionals.” Furthermore, many institutions are housed in substandard structures. Open or broken windows are common, exposing historical documents to humidity and boiling hot temperatures, while allowing in the elements, insects, and the occasional animal. In the fall of 2010, several scholars were startled to find a monkey wandering through the research room of the National Archives. Termites and bookworms also have gutted the holdings of many institutions.”

For more, please visit the NYTimes article by clicking on the link above. 

“…sometimes with sweets…”

An article released yesterday via ABC News, written by a reporter from the Associated Press, highlights the recent guilty pleas by Barry Landau, a New York City author and collector, and his assistant Jason Savedoff,  who were charged with taking valuable historical documents from the Maryland Historical Society and conspiring to abduct more from other National repositories.

“The pair compiled lists of historical and famous figures, often noting the market value of documents signed by those figures, and Savedoff identified collections with valuable documents that they could target, according to the Savedoff’s plea. They would distract librarians, sometimes with sweets, while they stashed documents inside clothes altered to add large hidden pockets.”

The jig is up, you Hard Candy Bandits!