Arrests Made in Kentucky Rare-Book Theft

American Libraries, March 2005 | Go to article overview

Arrests Made in Kentucky Rare-Book Theft


Four 20-year-old college students were arraigned February 10 on the charge of felony transportation of stolen goods in the theft of rare holdings from the special collections of Transylvania University Library in Lexington, Kentucky.

According to the February 11 Lexington Herald-Leader, the recovered items, all of which were reported to be undamaged, are: a first edition of Darwin's On the Origin of Species, published in 1859; 20 sketches done by John James Audubon in preparation for the 1856-57 edition of Birds of America; Hortus Sanitatis, a two-volume natural history from the 16th century that contains hand-painted, gold-illuminated woodcuts; and an illuminated manuscript written in 1425 and hand-painted in color in Winchester, England, for the Knolles family.

Special Collections Librarian B. J. Gooch was overpowered by two men in the December 17 robbery. A young man identifying himself as Walter Beckman kept an appointment with Gooch to view the library and called an acquaintance on his cell phone to join them. …

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