FOLKS, THERE IS SOMETHING RADICALLY WRONG WITH THIS STORY FROM THE BOSTON HERALD NEWSPAPER.
FIRST, the image of the library racks is misleading to all. THIS IS NOT THE WAY VALUABLE PRINTS ARE STORED in any library or museum, this image makes it look like there’s NO SECURITY AT AT WHICH IS NOT TRUE, I’VE BEEN IN MANY MUSEUM SECURED PRINT ROOMS AND SPENT MUCH TIME AT THE BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY LOOKING AT THEIR WONDERFUL DURER PRINTS, AND I WAS UNDER COMPLETE SURVEILLANCE, GUARDED IN A LOCKED ROOM, THEY HAD TIGHT SECURITY MEASURES.
And I was there after Hitchings was gone, having been an auditor one time in my career, there were NO LAX SECURITY MEASURES with this collection, ESPECIALLY with the Durers I was inspecting.
SECOND, THIS REPORTER is NOT ASKING OR REPORTING ON THE RIGHT QUESTION AT ALL, which SHOULD BE HOW MUCH FUNDING DOES THE BPL HAVE FOR SECURITY OF THESE PRINTS? IS IT PRIVATE FUNDING OR PUBLIC? COULD THIS HAVE HAPPENED BECAUSE THE LIBRARY IS UNDERFUNDED FOR SECURITY MEASURES EITHER BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OR MUNICIPAL FUNDING?
THIRD, THE STAFF OF THE BPL ARE EXTREMELY DEDICATED, THOROUGHLY TRAINED EXPERTS IN HOW TO PROTECT THIS WONDERFUL COLLECTION THEY HAVE.
FOURTH, HITCHINGS COMMENTS ARE OFF THE MARK, ESPECIALLY IF HE WAS “KEEPER OF THE PRINTS” UNTIL 2005, IT IS EXTREMELY COMMON FOR around 10-12 library staff to have access to a collection like this. HITCHINGS is whining for some reason,sounds like he’s trying to make himself sound important and better than the current staff. Did HE GET LAID OFF?
LOOK CLOSELY AT HIS LAST STATEMENT AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE. IF HE WAS KEEPER OF THE PRINTS FOR SUCH A LONG TIME, HE KNOWS EXACTLY THE VALUE OF THIS COLLECTION. WHY WOULD HE BE SAYING “IF A THOROUGH INVENTORY WAS DONE, THE LIBRARY WOULD FIND THEY ARE EITHER POORER (ie. more thefts?) OR RICHER THAN THEY KNOW?
Hitchings SHOULD KNOW EXACTLY THE VALUE OF THE COLLECTION
CRIPES, IT’S ONLY 10 YEARS SINCE HE’S BEEN GONE, HOW MANY PRINTS DID THE LIBRARY ACQUIRE IN THE LAST 10 YEARS, THAT WOULD MAKE THEM RICHER? IF A THOROUGH INVENTORY WAS MADE? DIDN’T HITCHINGS HAVE A THOROUGH INVENTORY LIST? I’D HAVE A HARD TIME BELIEVING THE BPL WENT ON A WILD SPENDING SPREE ACQUIRING PRINTS OR HAD SOME SORT OF MASSIVE DONATION FROM SOMEONE THAT could support a statement like this from Hitchings. IF SUCH A DONATION WAS MADE IN THE LAST 10 YEARS, THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN IMMEDIATELY CATALOGUED AND ADDED TO THEIR INVENTORY.
And by his own statements here Hitchings obviously has been in close contact with the BPL staff since he’s been gone, why is he RANKLED? WHAT DOES HE KNOW WAS CHANGED ABOUT THE SECURITY PROCEDURES NOW IN PLACE THAT HE ISN’T SAYING? IS HE NOW PLANNING ON WRITING A BOOK AND CASHING IN ON THIS NOTORIETY?Wouldn’t surprise ME.
ALL OF THIS REPORTING that has been released to to the public POINTS TO AN INSIDE JOB or someone who knew exactly what was in the inventory working with someone on the inside. The THIEF knew EXACTLY what were the most valuable prints to take, the Adam and Eva and the Rembrandt self-portrait. A real art thief would have had to have inside info to KNOW to go after exactly these two prints. A casual thief would not know to target these particular prints.
Certainly interesting that this info JUST GOT RELEASED NOW, rather than when the BPL reported to the Mayor and police in April when Boston was still buried under snow, hit over and over, it was miserable .
IT’S EVEN HARDER TO BELIEVE MURPHY HASN’T BEEN TOLD ALL DETAILS OF THE SECURITY PROTOCOLS IN PLACE, USUAL POLITICAL GRANDSTANDING.
IT’S THE BEGINNING OF TOURIST SEASON IN BOSTON, NOW WHAT TOURISTS CAN RESIST traipsing to the BPL NOW TO VISIT THE SCENE OF THE CRIME?
BUY THE BOOK! ON AMAZON
SO HERE’S THE LATEST UPDATE ON THIS NONSENSICAL STORY BEING RELEASED TO THE PUBLIC:
Valuable prints have been reported missing or misfiled from the Copley Square branch of the Boston Public Library.
For more than four decades, Sinclair Hitchings was responsible for the care and protection of the Boston Public Library’s massive print collection, stored in a cavernous room at the central branch that only four employees, including himself, were allowed to enter.
A log book was used to record every visit employees made to the print stacks, where masterworks are stored in boxes that are clearly marked, such as “Rembrandt prints,” said Hitchings, who was “keeper of the prints” from 1961 to 2005.
The disclosure this week that two prints valued at more than $600,000 are missing from the library, possibly for as long as a year, has rankled Hitchings, who believes the library has relaxed its security protocols over the past decade.
“I see a laxity of control, and I see that the library is out of touch with the world of prints,” said Hitchings, adding that he was disturbed by reports that as many as a dozen members of the library staff were allowed into the room.
Hitchings said it appeared that “access [security] was sufficiently lax that somebody could get into the print stacks and say, ‘Hey, look here’s a box marked Rembrandt and a box marked Dürer.’ ”
Boston police, the FBI, and the US attorney’s office are investigating the disappearance of Albrecht Dürer’s engraving “Adam and Eve,” valued at an estimated $600,000, and an etching, Rembrandt’s “Self-Portrait With Plumed Cap and Lowered Sabre,” valued at $20,000 to $30,000.
Citing the ongoing investigation, Melina Schuler, a spokeswoman for the Boston Public Library, has declined to provide details of the library’s security protocols for the print collection, including how many employees had access to the room.
A library employee familiar with the print room told the Globe that 10 to 20 employees had access to the room. Another person with knowledge of the protocols said fewer than 10 were allowed entry, but could not be more specific. Both declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.
Schuler said a library employee learned on April 8 that the Dürer print was missing, prompting an internal search of places where it might have been misfiled. A week later, staff discovered that the Rembrandt print was missing, and the police commissioner and mayor were notified, she said.
The library’s keeper of special collections, Susan L. Glover, was placed on paid administrative leave on April 20, according to Schuler. Glover has not been charged in connection with the case. She has not responded to requests for comment.
At the heart of the investigation is whether the missing prints were stolen or simply misfiled in the library’s collection of 200,000 prints.
Earlier in the week, Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said police were looking into the possibility that library employees stole the artwork.
When patrons ask to view items from the collection, authorized employees retrieve them from the print room and deliver them to a reading room. Patrons, who must show identification and are prohibited from bringing bags into the room, view the items while being monitored by librarians.
On Friday, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said, “It seems there’s been a major breakdown somewhere along the way . . . clearly we have some problems with the library.”
The mayor said he will meet Tuesday with the library’s president, Amy E. Ryan, and the chairman of its board of trustees, Jeffrey B. Rudman, and wants answers about security protocols and how the prints were able to vanish without detection for so long.
“What’s in place now to prevent something like this from happening in the future?” Walsh asked.
City Councilor Stephen J. Murphy, who filed an order for a hearing about the missing prints and the library’s security protocols after reading about the disappearance in the newspaper, said many councilors are eager for answers.
The hearing, to be held during the second week of June, will enable councilors to ask Ryan and others about how the valuable collections are protected.
“They’re not answering questions now,” Murphy said. “What is the security? What is the protocol? . . . This is the stuff that I’m going to ask when I get them in.”
Councilors, Murphy said, are trying to “do what we can to close the barn door after the horse has left.”
Recently, the library enlisted an independent security firm to work with its staff to assess security systems in the print department and associated collections and to make recommendations for upgrades, Schuler said.
The library is also conducting an item-by-item inventory of its print collection to determine whether any other items are missing.
“I think if the library held a thorough inventory, they might find some things are missing or they are even richer than they thought they were,” Hitchings said.