The business meeting was held at the Union League Club (65 W. Jackson Blvd.), Thursday, May 11, 2017.
CALL President Todd Ito welcomed the membership and gave a special welcome to those retired members we haven’t seen in a while and that have come to celebrate CALL’s 70th Anniversary. There were 116 attendees at the meeting.
We had one new CALL member at the meeting—Emily Byrne from Chapman & Cutler.
CALL first formed in February 1947 and formally became a chapter of AALL in June 1947. Todd thanked the 70th Anniversary Committee for their work and encouraged members to check out the various displays of CALL Memorabilia around the room.
The next issue of the CALL Bulletin will be dedicated to the 70th Anniversary.
He announced the favors at the seats around the room—hardback notebooks with CALL’s logo. He also thanked Meetings Committee Co-Chair Eugene Guidice for the lovely design of the anniversary cake.
Vice-President/President-Elect Clare Willis thanked Wolters Kluwer, and their representative Sean Hearon, for their sponsorship of the business meeting.
Clare introduced the meeting speaker, Travis McDade, Curator of Law Rare Books and Associate Professor of Library Service at the University of Illinois College of Law. Professor McDade is an expert on crimes against rare books, manuscripts, and other historical material. He is the author of three books on that subject—The Book Thief: The True Crimes of Daniel Spiegelman, Thieves of Book Row: New York’s Most Notorious Rare Book Ring and the Man Who Ended It, and most recently, Disappearing Ink: The Insider, the FBI, and the Looting of the Kenyon College Library. Professor McDade frequently lectures on the topic of rare book crime and is a member of the Mystery Writers of America.
Professor McDade began with a series of photographs that would eventually tie into a fascinating story of brazen book theft. He started with a photo of the UIUC main library in 1980 including the no longer existent reference room and card catalogs. Next up were photos of a 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham complete with plush red velvet seats. Then there were photographs of bags labeled “PZA 177.” We later learned that ”PZA” referenced the proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. “177” represented the number of cut-out lithographs in that bag. A large number of these labeled bags were shown in the trunk of the Cadillac—which of course, due to its size, could hold quite a lot of bags.
Bob Kindred, a native of rural Illinois who later moved to California, got into the antique print framing business by accident and grew his company over a number of years. He would typically frame prints from sources such as the International Journal of Ornithology (IBIS). But these types of prints were generally only available in books in libraries, specifically libraries who could afford them, such as the library at the Zoological Society of London.
In 1980, Kindred moved from California to Texas, where he met Richard Green. Green and Kindred formed a print-stealing partnership, traveling around the country on a whirlwind tour of major university libraries, selecting their targets using the Barron’s Guide to Colleges. They even spent 3 days in Washington, D.C. stealing from the Library of Congress and the University of Maryland. They would then sell the prints on their way from one university to the next, stopping in small towns where there were known buyers for such prints.
They even made a stop in Champaign-Urbana to visit family. While in town, they logically stopped to steal from the largest public university library in the country at the University of Illinois (UIUC).
Their typical operation required both men. One was the lookout and the other would be inside at a table with razors. At UIUC, they even stole entire books. Their shenanigans reached a new level on a Saturday night in June 1980. They broke into the main library after midnight through the connected HVAC building. Kindred made his way to the 8th floor of the library where he located valuable over-sized folios and lithographs. From study carrel #825, he kicked open the window, and using black nylon bags, lowered the valuable loot to Green who was waiting outside. After that successful escapade, they decided to return the next night (Sunday) and repeat the potentially lucrative operation. However, they were unaware that every few days an HVAC specialist would come around and check on the HVAC equipment to make sure everything was running smoothly. As it happened, he stopped by that Sunday evening. While walking down the stairs into the HVAC building he stumbled across a stack of giant folios. The man called the police, who didn’t seem too concerned with the discovery of a stack of books outside a library, but they sent an officer over anyway. In those intervening minutes, the books disappeared.
The officer then walked around the perimeter of the library looking for a broken window or door that would suggest there had been a break-in. While he’s walking around, he sees a 1979 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham screeching down the road, which then pulls a u-turn and speeds away. The officers and the HVAC specialist find the stack of books hidden behind a hedge on the business quad across from the library.
Kindred and Green could’ve gotten away, presumably free and clear. But Kindred wanted those books that he had left behind the hedge. The police were counting on that greed, and staked out the area, waiting for the thieves’ return. Kindred did soon return and was promptly arrested. He was arraigned for the theft of the large stack of books, and then for an additional four books the police found also hidden away for later recovery by Kindred.
The heroes of this story emerged in the aftermath of the theft. Two UIUC librarians spent the summer in a miserably hot small room at the campus police building, sorting out the materials found in the trunk of the Cadillac. Through their impressive efforts, they were able to identify half of the books. The origin of the other half could not be determined and eventually those materials became part of UIUC’s collection or were sold at auction or through library book sales.
Kindred’s sentence was just probation and soon after the case was resolved he moved to California (which was actually outside of what the terms of his probation permitted). He had left other stolen prints in a car he had abandoned at Dulles airport. But the car was left there too long and was impounded, at which time stolen prints were found. That resulted in a federal criminal charge and Kindred received a prison sentence of two years.
Upon completion of his prison term, he moved back to California. He is still in the antique print business today.
Question: Considering there are regulations regarding conflict-free diamonds, shouldn’t there be similar regulations for stolen prints?
Answer: Absolutely. 75% of these prints come from books; his estimate is that half of those are stolen from libraries.
Question: Did any of the universities increase security after these large-scale thefts became known?
Answer: Sort of. The libraries claimed that they increased their security. However, increasing security of rare books generally means that access to those materials will need to be limited. Most universities therefore keep those materials in special collections with limited access. Not surprisingly, this frustrates library patrons.
Question: Do you have a sense as to how much Kindred was charging for the prints?
Answer: On average $50-$75 per print; at highest $150. As many of the prints were black and white he would sometimes color the prints by hand so he could charge an additional $25.
Question: Did the library assess the value of the books?
Answer: Yes—those two UIUC librarians did try to do this. That stack of eight books that Kindred attempted to steal from the UIUC library would sell for about $5,000 at auction.
Question: In the course of his research did he come across anyone who had purchased any of the stolen prints?
Answer: No but Kindred had kept detailed receipts which were found in the car. Many of those individuals who own businesses dealing in prints are still in business. But as they didn’t seem to know that the prints were stolen, and no one asked them to return the prints.
Question: When Google was doing its massive scanning of print books, did they discover any books that were missing pages?
Answer: Excellent question and idea. He doesn’t know but thinks it would be worth looking into.
Question: Did he find it surprising that this criminal mastermind was willing to talk to with him [McDade]?
Answer: Well, he started this project in 2007, but didn’t want to call Kindred and assumed he wouldn’t speak with him. But he did talk to him eventually and just six months ago found out that Kindred is currently selling prints at an antique print store in Pasadena. Two weeks ago, McDade called the store and as it happened Kindred was in the store. But Kindred didn’t want to speak with him in front of his employer. But he called again and Kindred answered. He had a long and frank conversation with Kindred, who even provided his cell phone number at the end of their conversation. They later spoke again and Kindred recounted the entire story.
Question: Related to that conversation, did Kindred seem to realize that he committed a crime?
Answer: Yes, he kept saying that he knows that he made mistakes and has paid for those mistakes; but he was trying to find something he could be a success at and this is what he came up with. Kindred also talked about all the legitimate purchases he made. The worst thing he thought he did was purchasing from criminals. He considered his ex-partner Richard Green a criminal and himself as someone who just made mistakes.
Todd thanked Professor McDade for the excellent and exciting presentation and suggested that the story would be an excellent feature film—perhaps an intriguing “buddy picture!”
Clare spoke about the Google Calendar members can now subscribe to in order to stay current with CALL activities such as educational workshops, networking events, and business meetings. She also reminded members to fill out the online survey if they are interested in volunteering for a CALL Committee.
Todd noted that CALL membership renewals are due June 1st. Those reminders will be sent electronically from our online directory system, Wild Apricot, on May 18th.
Julie Pabarja came to the podium to announce the chapter awards.
Julie said that she was so happy to see all the colleagues, local chapter leaders, and national leaders and believes that we should be celebrating every year.
Julie said that she was so happy to see all the colleagues, local chapter leaders, and national leaders and believes that we should be celebrating every year. Julie also announced this year’s CALL grant recipients and announced the winners of our chapter awards: Sean Rebstock won Best Publication and Robert Martin won the Agnes and Harvey Reid Award for Outstanding Contribution to Law Librarianship.
Award recipient Sean Rebstock (Best Publication) encouraged the membership to really seek out these projects as a way to reach our patrons and said he’ll be competing every year!
Robert Martin talked about having this “wow” moment: “They like me, they really like me!” Robert said that everyone in the room was wonderful but wanted to especially thank his wife for her support. He also thanked the CALL community for what we mean to each other and to the community for all the groups we’ve aided through community service donations; he thanked his Chicago-Kent family—Keith Ann Stiverson and Gretchen Van Dam and all the people he worked with, including Clare Willis, Scott Vanderlin, Maribel Nash and so many others. He spoke about how thankful and surprised he was by all the opportunities he received to play different roles within CALL. He thanked Joann Hounshell for encouraging him to participate in CALL and all the mentorship she provided.
Robert then wrapped up with a community service announcement. At the February Business Meeting, $208 was collected for the Chicago Food Depository along with several boxes of food. Today, cash donations will be given to the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services (CVLS).
Todd again congratulated our very deserving grant recipients and chapter award winners. He also thanked outgoing board members – Julie Pabarja, Diana Koppang, and Konya Lafferty-Moss. He then thanked all the committee chairs and committee members who have served CALL this past year.
Todd announced that at the close of this meeting, we are transitioning to the new Board: Joe Mitzenmacher (Vice President/President-Elect), Annie Mentkowski (Secretary), and Scott Vanderlin (Director).
Todd then officially passed the gavel to Clare Willis who will be CALL’s president in 2017-2018.
In Clare’s first official act as president, she presented a gift to Todd Ito and thanked him for all his hard work and dedication during his time as CALL President this past year.
Todd and Clare announced the door prize winners (sponsored by Lexis): Lynn Lendabarker and Sally Baker.
Clare ceremoniously thumped the gavel and adjourned the 2016-2017 CALL year.