photo from Hawaii News Now article in May of 2012

Jan 10, 2016 4:10 PM

Fitzwilliam library heads to trial to regain artifacts allegedly taken by former librarian

FITZWILLIAM - The town library is fighting to regain possession of Hawaiian artifacts, arguing in a lawsuit that they were wrongfully taken by a former librarian, Paula Baldwin.

According to the Keene Sentinel, the items include a Hawaiian-language Bible printed in 1838, a rare map of the islands drawn by a calligrapher, stones and ivory. The collection, a gift from a former resident who traveled to the Hawaiian islands as a missionary in 1836, was housed in the library for several decades.

Paula Baldwin, who now lives in Texas, says she purchased the collection for a small sum and gave the artifacts to her son. The items are now valued at more than $100,000 and are in the possession of an appraiser in Honolulu. Library officials say they have no record of selling the artifacts and that Baldwin was not authorized to take them.

The library's legal battle started more than three years ago and is now headed for trial. Lawyer Steven M. Gordon, of Concord, who is representing the library, said the library has tried to reach a settlement with Baldwin and her son but failed.

The jury trial is anticipated to last a maximum of four days and begin April 4, according to recent filings in Cheshire County Superior Court in Keene.

To see pictures of the artifacts, check out this Mary, 2012 article in Hawaii News Now.

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