Homeward Bound: Returning Displaced Books and Manuscripts 6 April 2008

Events and Conferences

A book history symposium, HOMEWARD BOUND addressed the issue of book and manuscript ownership. The speakers discussed the successful and pending book return cases. Also they tried to answer the following questions: How does the debate over the identification and repatriation of art and antiquities impact the world of books? How should libraries and private collectors treat books and manuscripts with questionable provenance? Should unique or looted items be returned to their countries of origins? What do case studies of recent and pending book returns reveal about the current climate of cultural heritage ownership and stewardship?

Members of the panel:

Henry S. Martin III
Lucille A. Roussin
Ken Soehner
Jeff Spurr
Patrick J. Stevens

Henry S. Martin III is a Henry N. Ess III Librarian & a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. He will moderate the symposium.

Jeff Spurr is an Islamic and Middle East Specialist in Harvard University's Fine Arts Library. He discussed the fate of Iraqi Jewish Archive in a paper entitled “Contested Patrimony: The Fate of the Iraqi Jewish Archive.”
Patrick J. Stevens is curator of the Fiske Icelandic Collection in the Division of Rare and Manuscripts Collections of Cornell University Library. He presented a paper entitled “Compensating Genius: Iceland's Medieval Manuscripts and their Repatriation from Denmark.”

The panel was co-sponsored by SAFE/Saving Antiquities For Everyone and the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, and scheduled to coincide with the New York Antiquarian Book Fair.  It was organized by Irina Tarsis. Attendance was free. For more information contact or visit

Bonnie J. Sacerdote Lecture Hall
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Avenue,
New York, NY

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