Once again I have more good news about pieces that were stolen by our former archivist. We have a received a number of returns in the past few weeks, including some very rare pieces. While this process has not been easy, especially when dealing with people who will not return the items or even respond to our letters, we have dealt with some people who restore your faith in humanity. We have had a few people who returned the items they purchased on eBay, as well as sending us new items as donations to help build up the collection again. To these people we are eternally grateful.
So, again I will share some of the returned pieces. Enjoy!
I recently had the opportunity to visit RMS Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, which is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while now.
Queen Mary has had a pretty illustrious history, which I won’t go into in too much detail because you can read about it on her website, HERE. She was built in Scotland for the Cunard Line and had her maiden voyage in 1936. She quickly became a favorite for the rich and famous who wanted to travel luxuriously. During WWII she became a troopship and was nicknamed the “Grey Ghost” due to her stealth and grey paint. If I heard correctly on one of my tours, at one point she carried as many as 16,000 troops on one voyage, which is still a record to this day. I know that she is a large boat, but that seems like way too many people. Anyways, in 1967 she retired and docked in Long Beach, where she remains to this day.
Several months ago I posted a message from Jeanne (boss lady) about a theft that had occurred at our museum in the 2000’s. (click HERE to read that post) Long story short, our archivist, Lester F. Weber, stole material from our archives to sell on eBay, and we’re pretty sure that this was his sole purpose in applying for the job. I am happy to update that we have finally started to contact buyers of the material in a bid to get the pieces back. It is just the start of a VERY long process, but we have already had a few positive results, which is what I want to highlight in this post.
One of the biggest hits to our archival collection was the loss of Titanic pieces. These pieces are extremely rare and in high demand as it remains one of the most well known shipwrecks of all time. One of the pieces returned was an over-sized postcard showing a full view of the starboard side of the ship. The bottom gives general information about the ship. Below is a picture.
Last week was a whirlwind of activity for us and for several others in the museum as we celebrated the donation of the Herbert Beazley steamship collection by Norma Beazley, who is a wonderful lady. Last year Cindi and I spent two days in Houston packing the collection and then two days driving it back to the museum in a moving truck. It was a long journey, but very worthwhile when we started to see what exactly it was we had brought back (a total of about 22,000 pieces!). We had objects, videos, photographs, postcards, slides, books and a very large number of archival pieces. Archival pieces generally include flat paper pieces such as menus, deck plans, passenger lists, receipts, tickets, baggage tags, etc. Between us and the library staff (as well as a number of awesome interns) it took us about two months to completely inventory the collection.
What is so great about this collection (besides how massive it is) is how many wonderful things have now come to our museum because of it.