Historian Pleads Guilty to Stealing Lincoln and Washington Letters
Historian Edward Renehan admitted to stealing a March 1, 1840, letter written by Lincoln and two by Washington,
one written on Aug. 9, 1791 and one written and signed on Dec. 29, 1778. Renehan later sold them to a New York gallery for $97,000, according the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan. He is the author of a number of books, the most recent being Commodore: The Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. The Newsday snippet included a short reference to Renehan's bipolar disorder which was undiagnosed during 2005 and 2006 at the time of the thefts. I want to quote Renehan's own thoughts on this very serious mental disorder:
I was diagnosed as "type 2" bipolar (aka, manic depressive) in 2007.
This is a progressive biochemical disorder from which I've evidently
suffered for a very long time, perhaps even since adolescence, and
which had reached a grave critical mass in recent years. I am currently
under treatment, on meds that my doctor and I are fine-tuning, and I am
slowly learning how to cope more efficiently and constructively than I
have in the past. (In the meantime, I continue to pick up the shattered
pieces from one of my last great, extended hypo-manias.) I only mention
the bipolar issue because I approve of the movement of sufferers who
are "outing" themselves, discussing the disorder, and thus working to
remove the stigma that surrounds it.
Information about bipolar disorder can be found here. This crime comes with a maximum 10-year prison sentence, but I do hope that given the circumstances the court will be lenient.