Historical Document Consultant

For many years I have been professionally examining questioned historical documents to determine their authenticity, especially after publishing my book Pen, Ink and Evidence (1993). I was asked to head a symposium on forgery at the Manuscript Society's 1993 meeting in Santa Fe, and I soon began receiving commissions from clients, including major document dealers and collectors.

Some of my cases are discussed in my later book Detecting Forgery: Forensic Investigation of Documents (1996). They involve the alleged diary of Jack the Ripper, the identification card of former Nazi death-camp guard Ivan "John" Demjanjuk, a purported copy of the Gettysburg Address owned by Lincoln collector Lloyd Ostendorf, and many others.

Occasionally I also assess the authenticity of artifacts, such as those bearing purported inscriptions of Daniel Boone (see my Unsolved History: Investigating Mysteries of the Past, 2005), the alleged ossuary of Jesus' brother James (see my special report, "Bone (Box) of Contention" in Skeptical Inquirer science magazine, March/April 2003), and many others, including The Bondwoman's Narrative (which I am shown examining with a magnifier in one photo). Also shown is a former business card, a Certificate of Appreciation from the Independent Association of Questioned Document Examiners, and a short treatise on "The Techniques of Printed Illustration" for a book, Kentucky Illustrated (by Martin F. Schimdt, 1992).

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