n.a record that has left the physical custody of its holder either illegally or extralegallyRhoads 1966, 200‒201For most public archives do not have authority or funds to purchase materials from dealers. The dealers who cooperate with archivists, who return stolen documents to us, who use their good offices to see that alienated records are returned to legitimate institutional custody, often do so at considerable inconvenience and financial loss.Cook 1975, 303In vain did Bahmer and other spokesmen attempt to assure them that the government had an interest only in those alienated records of the federal government not being properly cared for. The government explained that these Lewis and Clark notes had been found in a dusty attic with no record of them ever having been properly released from government custody.Hindus 1979, 309Over the course of the past three centuries, many court records have been removed from courthouses for one reason or another. Large collections have ended up in libraries and historical societies. Again, an approach to such alienated records can combine utility and policy.Peterson and Peterson 1985, 17This means that the question of private actions to compel the return of alienated records is still open. The court noted, “The Archivist did request return of the telephone notes from Kissinger on the basis of his belief that the documents may have been wrongfully removed under the Act . . .”NDCLEY 2007, 7Acquisition Criteria ¶ . . . The alienated records of any former public body which has become privatized.Blouin, Yakel, and Coombs 2008, 414Finally, if done appropriately, information technology creates interoperability and the creation of large databases that search across institutions, pulling together dispersed and alienated record groups and fonds.Bourk 2015, 9Members often decide to donate their personal papers to research repositories once their service in the House ends. Despite the stipulations detailed in House Rule VII, and the best efforts of committee and Office of the Clerk staff, sometimes official records end up in the collections of Members’ personal papers donated to manuscript repositories. These are considered alienated records.NYSA 2023aDifferent actions can be taken against holders of alienated records. (See the appendix for a discussion of laws that might be relevant to the reclamation of alienated records.) ¶ Pressing criminal charges, including grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property. ¶ Replevin, which is the common term for a legal action to reclaim property that is improperly or illegally in the custody of others.
For the most part, the concept of alienated records is restricted to records that have left the custody of a governmental entity, but the term could be used to describe any records that have been removed from the physical custody of an archives or other organization without prior consent of the record holder.