H. Bartholomew Cox: Historian, Documents Expert

Historians in the News

Henry Bartholomew Cox, 69, a historian and lawyer who helped recover more than $250,000 worth of documents stolen from the Thomas A. Edison historical site, died of Alzheimer's disease April 8 at his home in Fort Washington.

Dr. Cox, an appraiser and collector who owned several early phonographs made by Edison, was alerted in 1984 by a North Carolina dealer that a California professor was willing to sell several rare documents signed by the famous inventor. The dealer bought one $600 sketch from the Californian and showed it to Dr. Cox.

"Bart recognized it and said it simply cannot be anything else" but documents missing from the federal historical site in New Jersey since 1976, said his wife of 33 years, Hannah Caffery Cox.

Working with the FBI, Dr. Cox and the dealer arranged a sting. Phillip Petersen, a former Stanford University language professor who had been fired for embezzling university funds, was arrested by the FBI. He pleaded guilty to the theft of more than 143 binders stuffed with unique Edison documents detailing the development of the phonograph and inventions related to it.
Read entire article at WaPo

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