Archival Practice: discussing real-world applications of archival theories and practices in the modern archival repository

Seeking the Fugitive: Investigating Missing Materials

Cheryl Gunselman


Dealing responsibly with missing materials is a serious and sometimes bewildering challenge for archivists. For collections that are known or suspected to be stolen, the professional literature provides excellent resources. But for cases where theft is not suspected, the literature is nearly silent, leaving archivists to rely on local practice or an entirely ad hoc approach. This essay describes a case of a missing collection, the Grace Isaacs Papers, with suggestions for conducting and documenting an investigation.

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