The Hunt for History

by Nathan Raab

“A thrilling work of detection through the eyes of an expert, with false leads, forgeries and scoundrels—a fast and fascinating read.”

—Jonathan Harr, New York Times bestselling author of A Civil Action and The Lost Painting

Meet the Author

About Nathan

Nathan Raab is a principal at the Raab Collection, a historian, and a nationally recognized expert who is helping to build many of the great public and private historical  collections in the country. He is one of the world’s most knowledgeable and respected experts in historical documents and authenticity. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and he frequently writes a column, “Historically Speaking,” for

What People Are Saying

A leading dealer in historical documents and artifacts delivers a delightful account of his business…As skilled in satisfying readers as clients, Raab knows how to tell a story, chronicling how descendants of great historical figures invite him to their homes and reveal treasures…unfailingly entertaining.”

– Kirkus *Starred* Review

“The greatest gem can be buried under a mountain of rock,” he concludes, his enthusiasm for the chase palpable in this diverting account of treasure hunting in the fast lane—a welcome addition to the genre.

– The Wall Street Journal

In this part detective story, part history lesson... readers gain insight into the adventures of a real-life treasure hunter; Raab’s exploits will remind readers of Indiana Jones or Benjamin Gates of the National Treasure film series... With several chill-inducing moments combined with engaging writing, this book will hold readers’ interest until the last page.

– Library Journal

In another life, I want to be Nathan Raab living with our most celebrated heroes of the past. In The Hunt for History, we get a first-hand look at a time traveler, document detective, and historical harvester as he mines for—and often procures—lost treasures.

– Dan Abrams, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Lincoln’s Last Trial and Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense

Fascinates with its stories of tracking down rare artifacts from America's past….Raab’s track record as an antiquarian, restorer, curator and field-researcher is extraordinary.

– Douglas Brinkley, Katherine Tsanoff Brown Chair in Humanities and Professor of History at Rice University and author of American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race

A thrilling work of detection through the eyes of an expert, with false leads, forgeries and scoundrels—a fast and fascinating read.

– Jonathan Harr, New York Times bestselling author of A Civil Action and The Lost Painting

For those who collect—or just care about—the artifacts of history, Nathan Raab offers a compelling account of his wide-ranging adventures: absorbing journeys into the past that teach valuable lessons. A terrific feat of storytelling, The Hunt for History will forever change the way you think about the events that have shaped our current reality.”

– Daniel Weiss, President and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Forget National Treasure—Nathan Raab’s historical adventures make him the Indiana Jones of rare document dealers….Not content to preserve history, here Raab makes some of his own in a detective story that will fascinate every collector and remind us all why history is too important to leave to the historians.

– Richard Norton Smith, author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Thomas E. Dewey and His Times and other works of history

With his love for rare artifacts and long forgotten treasures, Nathan Raab takes us on a wild hunt and deliciously opens up numerous hidden crevices of history. What a rollicking ride this book is. What a statement about why we love history.

– Jay Winik, New York Times bestselling author of 1944 and April 1865

A tale of instinct, passion, patient research, and addictive interest—all animated by a son’s admiration for his father. Like John Hancock writing in large, bold letters, I would mark this book: ‘Highly recommended.

– Harold Holzer, National Humanities Medal Winner and author of Lincoln at Cooper Union and Lincoln and the Power of the Press

Worth reading for its tales of buried treasure and dogged detection. It‘s also keenly perceptive on the alchemy by which ink-and-paper relics become portals to the past, bringing history thrillingly alive.

– Benjamin Wallace, New York Times bestselling author of The Billionaire’s Vinegar

An absolutely riveting book that will have you experiencing moments of great significance as if they were occurring right in front of you…Perhaps Raab’s greatest talent is showing the importance of history—why it can teach us so much and fire us with inspiration.

– Andrew Carroll, New York Times bestselling author of War Letters and Letters of a Nation

Raab’s account underscores the richness of our heritage, adding intriguing footnotes to the history we thought we knew.

– Susan Eisenhower, President of The Eisenhower Group and author of Breaking Free and Mrs. Ike

About The Hunt for History

A box uncovered in a Maine attic with twenty letters written by Alexander Hamilton; a handheld address to Congress by President George Washington; a long-lost Gold Medal that belonged to an American President; a note that Winston Churchill wrote to his captor when he was a young POW in South Africa; paperwork signed and filled out by Amelia Earhart when she became the first woman to fly the Atlantic; an American flag carried to the moon and back by Neil Armstrong; an unpublished letter written by Albert Einstein, discussing his theory of relativity.

Each day, people from all over the world contact Nathan Raab for help understanding what they have, what it might be worth, and how to sell it. The Raab Collection’s president, Nathan is a modern-day treasure hunter and one of the world’s most prominent dealers of historical artifacts. Most weeks, he travels the country, scours auctions, or fields phone calls and emails from people who think they may have found something of note in a grandparent’s attic.

In The Hunt for History, Raab shares some fascinating stories about his professional exploits: spotting a letter from British officials that secured the Rosetta Stone; discovering a piece of the first electric cable laid by Edison; restoring a fragmented letter from Andrew Jackson that led to the infamous Trail of Tears; and locating copies of missing audio that had been recorded on Air Force One as the plane brought JFK’s body back to Washington. Whether it’s the first report of Napoleon’s death or an unpublished letter penned by Albert Einstein to a curious soldier, every document and artifact Raab uncovers comes with a spellbinding story—and often offers new insights into a life we thought we knew.

Coming March 10, 2020

Latest News & Press

A Sample From the Hunt for History

Get a tease from Nathan Raab’s acclaimed book, The Hunt for History. Download a PDF of “Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears, Chapter...

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The Hunt for History Review: The Wall Street Journal

The below piece was first published on The Wall Street Journal’s website:   ‘The Hunt for History’ Review: A Textual Detective A manuscript...

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Library Journal Review of The Hunt

Readers gain insight into the adventures of a real-life treasure hunter; Raab’s exploits will remind readers of Indiana Jones or Benjamin Gates of the...

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A Limited Edition Bookplate for The Hunt for History

The Hunt for History (Scribner), Nathan’s first book, comes out March 10.  To celebrate the occasion, we commissioned artist Matthew James Collins, based in...

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At the Smithsonian: “An Expert’s Hunt for History”

The Raab Collection is excited to announce that Nathan Raab will be speaking about his upcoming book, ‘The Hunt for History’, at the Smithsonian...

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Publishers Weekly Review of The Hunt for History

Below are excerpts from Publishers Weekly’s review of Nathan Raab’s upcoming book, The Hunt for History (March 2020), which has earned a Kirkus Starred...

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The Hunt for History Receives Starred Kirkus Review

Nathan Raab’s upcoming book, The Hunt for History (Scribner, March 2020) has received a rare and coveted Kirkus Starred review.  These starred reviews, which...

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The Genesis of “The Hunt for History”

By Nathan Raab Last week, we announced my upcoming book, The Hunt for History, to be published in March 2020 by Scribner, a division...

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Early Praise for “The Hunt for History”

In March 2020, Scribner, a division of Simon and Schuster, will publish “The Hunt for History,” by Nathan Raab.  The book has received early...

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Invite Nathan to Speak

  • Invite Nathan to speak, sign books, and regale with his stories from the hunt, replete with original artifacts from history to make for a lively backdrop to an enlightening event.


Join Nathan on the Hunt

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Upcoming Speaking Events

March 10

Main Point Books, Wayne, PA, 7-830pm; Join Nathan for a conversations and questions on the date of the book launch.

March 18

University of Pennsylvania, the bookstore, 6-7pm; "...One of the world's most knowledgeable and respected experts in historical documents, NATHAN RAAB. He will discuss being on the trail hunting for the world's lost treasures and signing copies of his new book, THE HUNT FOR HISTORY.

March 31

Highland Park Methodist Church, Dallas, TX

April 1

The Massachusetts Historical Society; 6-7:00PM, Boston, MA; With a pre-talk reception at 5:30. Open to the public for a fee.

April 7

Midtown Scholars, 7-9pm; Harrisburg, PA; Book signing to follow discussion.

April 14

The College of William & Mary. 4-530pm. Swem Library, Botetourt Gallery, Williamsburg, VA; Botetourt Book Talk with Nathan Raab

April 16

Private Corporate Event

April 22

The Smithsonian Institution; 6:45pm. S. Dillon Ripley Center; "An Expert's Hunt for History; Evening Program with Book Signing

May 6

The Merion Cricket Club (private event)

May 12

The Penn Club, New York City

October 7

Mount Vernon, George Washington's Home