Sunday, April 18, 2010

George Washington Never Returned A Library Book

I was reading various articles online and came across this funny piece regarding President George Washington:
The New York Society Library, the city's only lender of books at the time of Washington's presidency, has revealed that the first American president took out two volumes and pointedly failed to return them.

At today's prices, adjusted for inflation, he would face a late fine of $300,000.

The library's ledgers show that Washington took out the books on 5 October 1789, some five months into his presidency at a time when New York was still the capital. They were an essay on international affairs called Law of Nations and the twelfth volume of a 14-volume collection of debates from the English House of Commons.

The ledger simply referred to the borrower as "President" in quill pen, and had no return date.

Sure enough, when the librarians checked their holdings they found all 14 volumes of the Commons debates bar volume 12.
Everybody has probably forgotten to return a library book, and it looks as if our first president was one of those people. I would think it amazing should the lost book be found, but I highly doubt it. At least the head librarian is not seeking the overdue fines. I wonder if this would be considered the most expensive late fee for an overdue library book...

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