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Travis McDade

Travis McDade is curator of law rare books at the University of Illinois College of Law and the country’s foremost expert on crimes against rare books, maps, documents, and other printed cultural heritage resources. He is the author of four books on the subject. The first, The Book Thief: The True Crimes of Daniel Spiegelman, highlighted the federal judicial recognition of books as cultural objects whose value cannot be adequately captured by market price. His second book is Thieves of Book Row: New York’s Most Notorious Rare Book Ring and the Man Who Ended it. Articles about the book appeared in publications including the New York TimesLos Angeles Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Times Literary Supplement. His third book is Disappearing Ink: The Insider, the FBI, and the Looting of the Kenyon College Library, and his most recent book is Torn from Their Bindings: A Story of Art, Science, and the Pillaging of American University Libraries.

McDade’s articles have been published in academic journals in disciplines ranging from law to history to rare books. Still, most of his articles, like his books, are aimed at a more general audience. An article he wrote for the Oxford University Press blog called “The Difficulty of Insider Book Theft” was featured on the Atlantic’s The Week’s Best Pop Culture Writing and the New Yorker’s Page-Turner. He lectures extensively on the subject of rare book crime, and is an active member of the Mystery Writers of America.