Forged Documents Review

The Lewis Legacy-Issue 61, Summer 1994 The C.S. Lewis Foundation for Truth in Publishing

Edited by Pat Bozeman

Cloth, 180 pages, 3 b&w illustrations.
OAK KNOLL BOOKS, ISBN 0-938768-22-0 * Price $25.00

In the past few years the world of rare books and manuscripts has been severely shaken by a number of highly publicized cases of forgery. The media has been most attracted to the Mormon document forgeries of Mark Hofmann which ended in bombings and bloody murder. The most recent case in America, however, has been the discovery of forged copies of the Texas Declaration of Independence and other important Texan historical documents. The public disclosure of these “Texas Forgeries” in April 1988 led to a series of rumors, allegations and questions. Did the bookdealers who were selling this material know they were forgeries? Who was printing them? How many were there? Did certain libraries and institutions suppress their knowledge of these forgeries?

The University of Houston, realizing there was a need for collectors, librarians and bookdealers to collectively address the whole issue of forgery, held a conference in November 1989. This book is the published proceedings of that conference. Although it contains some specific information for librarians and bookdealers, there is also plenty to interest any reader who desires a broad introduction to forgery or needs a specific account of one of the major literary forgeries. Nicolas Barker, in his detailed examination of how typographical evidence can expose forgers, provides an account of the forgeries of Mark Hofmann, Frederic Prokosch and Thomas J. Wise. The Hitler diaries and The Horn Papers forgeries are discussed in William L. Joyce’s survey of literary forgery from ancient times to the present day. There are also several engaging narratives of how individuals were personally affected by the forgeries. Public discussion was an integral part of the Houston conference and the debates between the speakers and the audience are faithfully reproduced in this volume.

“Forged Documents is a very important work: for dealers who need to confront a degree of laxity on the part of the trade in handling forged material: for librarians who should be rendering more assistance in bringing to justice forgers and those who abet forgery for the sake of profit: and for all scholars and collectors with a healthy respect for the truth.”

Bookman’s Weekly.

“Each paper will appeal to some reader who desires a broad introduction to the subject or has a specific need for information.”

The Library Quarterly.