A Brief History of Library Theft

March 6, 2020

“In 2009, a millionaire named Farhad Hakimzadeh was found guilty of stealing individual pages from ancient books from both the British Library and Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Using a scalpel, he carefully stripped out pages from 16th- and 17th-century tomes, including a 500-year-old map painted by Henry Vlll’s court artist.” These are just a few of the crimes-against-literature described in Tony Dunnell’s list of various things stolen from libraries for Mental Floss. From 400-year-old bibles to John F. Kennedy’s rocking chair, the list recounts various ways thieves have infiltrated libraries over the years, including the aforementioned Hakimzadeh, who claimed his “obsessive-compulsive bibliomania drove him to remove the pages to complete his own vast collection.”

Image credit: Dr. Marcus Gossler

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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