Date: September 17, 2015
Time: 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Location: Green Library, Bing Wing, 5th Floor, Bender Room
The California Map Society Lecture at Stanford Libraries Presents: Michael Blanding on The Map Thief
The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps
Maps have long exerted a special fascination on viewers—both as beautiful works of art and practical tools to navigate the world. For those that collect them, however, the map trade can be a cutthroat business, inhabited by quirky and in some cases disreputable characters in search of a finite number of extremely rare objects. E. Forbes Smiley III, esteemed and respectable antiquarian map dealer, spent years doubling as a map thief until he was finally arrested while delicately tearing maps out of books in the Yale University Library in 2005. He would later confess to the theft of 97 maps valued at over $3 million total, and serve 3 years in prison for his crimes.
Michael Blanding is a Boston-based investigative journalist whose work has been published in The Nation, The New Republic, Slate, Salon, Consumers Digest, The Boston Globe Magazine and Boston Magazine. He is currently a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University and a staff writer at Harvard Business School. His first book was The Coke Machine, an investigative report on CocaCola. Michael is also an cartography enthusiast.