James Billington was Jay Sherred's roommate at Princeton
Jay's daughter was my brother's first wife whose name was Ann
ann and my brother had two daughters before they divorced
so James Billington and I were quite friendly BUT I didnt come up with the 10k a year to become a Madison Associate
that was a mistake. I should have done it
it would have been a huge return for me but I just was dumb.
then Hebert raised the 10m for the waldseemueller map but Sy Schwartz discovered that the paper was date 1515 to 1518. so it was NOT the first maps to show america. that has been hushed up
sy always wanted to give his collection to LC and arranged for his son (a professor of architecture at UVA) to meet with Hebert to discuss housing it.
Hebert kept his son waiting for 5 hours and then walked out of his office and told him he was too busy to see him at all and to reschedule
Sy called me up, told me about this and said that he was going to give his collection to the University of Virginia instead.
I then appraised his collection at $42,000,000
A few years after that I was invited to dinner with V-P Cheney and brought down Jeff Siegal to go with me. We made an appointment to see the map collection and James Flatness gave us a tour
Since Jeff collects Des Barres, we looked at the section of drawers that had those maps
Flatness would let us touch them and insisted on showing us himself.
While doing so he tore 3 of them right down the middle while trying to take them out of the drawers
Jeff and I was appalled and sickened.
As we left Hebert came out of his office and said good by
I said that I would like to make a $100000 donation of my paper restoration services and reference books to the Geography Division
He said that I should call him the next day to set that up
I called Hebert 7 days in a row and he never returned my call once.
People told me that this was the way John Hebert was and I should not calm down
I became very, very angry and called Billington to tell him.
He had some flunky call me back who suggestion that I apply to become a member of the Madison Associates.
I went ballistic and complained about this and then told him the Sy Schwartz story by e mail.
Things got worse from there.
I suppose I should have told you this before suggesting that you go to LC
Ehernberg knows full well that the maps form the MD Academy of Science belong at LC but there is no way the Billington is going to fund this no matter what he says
I should have just understood Hebert's rudeness but I was not in the mood.
Hebert was NOT fired. His son-in-law died in a terrible car wreck and he left his job at LC to take care of his devastated family. It would have been impossible to fire him. But there is no question that he did a terrible job at LC.
But losing the Sy Schwartz collection was a terrible mistake and loss for LC. I always felt that they would never recover from this
In the end this means that our collection will have to go to a private collector or another institution.