May 28, 2022

Former Investigative Reporter For "The New Yorker" Asks NY Pub. Library To Return Papers He Donated Because Materials Were Mishandled

From the NY Times:

In a move that has turned scholarly heads, Paul Brodeur, a former investigative reporter for The New Yorker, who donated thousands of pages of his work to the library, is demanding that the papers be returned. He claims that an institution renowned for its careful stewardship of historical documents has badly mishandled his.

The charges are roiling the genteel world of research archivists, who usually toil in dust-jacket obscurity, and inciting a lively debate about which pieces of the past are worth preserving.

Over the past few weeks, Mr. Brodeur — known for his zealous pursuit of asbestos manufacturers and corporate polluters as a journalist — has mounted an elbows-out campaign to shame the library, firing off e-mails to dozens of prominent academics and authors pleading his case and enlisting their support. The library, which rebuts Mr. Brodeur’s claims, is refusing to return all of his work, escalating a year-old dispute that has played out on an unusually public stage. Beginning last month, Mr. Brodeur and the New York Public Library posted dueling accounts on the Web site of the Authors Guild Bulletin, an influential newsletter for writers.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.