The National Archives guards something like 10 billion Federal documents. So, despite their best efforts, some of our nation's most important documents have ended up pilfered and resold on the open market. In hopes of retrieving some key items, the inspector general of the Archives, Paul Brachfeld created a small team to hunt them down in the strangely wild world of historical memorabilia. Faye Fiore delivers a sparkling rendition of their story:
Target maps of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, war telegrams written by Abraham Lincoln and a scabbard and belt given to Harry S. Truman? Gone, gone and gone.
Citizens of a democracy must have access to their history, Brachfeld understood. But what kind of country leaves its attic door open, allowing its past to slip away? His solution: Assemble a team of national treasure hunters.
They are two earnest federal agents and a bookish historian dutifully scouring Civil War collector shows, dealer inventories and the Internet for bits of Americana that wind up on an EBay auction block.
Read the full story at The Los Angeles Times.