Monday, April 19, 2010

GW's Library Fines

As a librarian myself, this strikes close to the heart! George Washington has two books that are now 220 years late back to the New York Society Library and have racked up $330,000 in late fees:
On 5 October 1789, the first president borrowed two books from what was then the only library in Manhattan - "Law of Nations," a dissertation on international relations, and a volume of debate transcripts from Britain's House of Commons.

George Washington did not even bother to sign his name in the borrower's ledger. An aide simply scrawled "president" next to the title to show who had taken them out.

The two tomes were due back a month later but were never returned and have been accruing late fees ever since. Librarians uncovered the misdemeanour as they were digitising the library's ledger from that time.

Washington wasn't the only big name to borrow books from this library either - Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay did as well, although they managed to return theirs!

The library says they aren't interested in pursuing the fine (would be pretty hard!), but would like to find the original books.

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