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Man returns library book after nearly 100 years

Callum Jones

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| Last updated 

Man returns library book after nearly 100 years

Featured Image Credit: St. Helena Public Library/KPIX

I think we are all guilty of taking the odd book out of the library and not returning it for a few weeks or even months after it was due back.

While some libraries may not be too fussed about their possessions being loaned out for longer than their supposed duration, others can certainly be quite stingy about it.

This is usually what makes us return said book, as the library pesters and pesters us about how many weeks it is overdue by.

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Of course, they also have the power to issue fines if you do not return a book, but we think this particular book certainly got forgotten about.

The book in question was never returned to the library after first being loaned out 100 years ago. That is, until very recently.

The book was lent out the library nearly 100 years ago. Credit: St. Helena Public Library
The book was lent out the library nearly 100 years ago. Credit: St. Helena Public Library

Jim Perry, not the original person to take out the book, was the one to find it while cleaning his Californian home.

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The book in question is known as 'A Family History of the United States' by the historian Benson Lossing.

Perry believes that the book was taken out by his grandfather-in-law nearly 100 years ago, with the belief that it might have actually been part of the St. Helena Public Library's original collection.

Recently, Perry handed over the ancient book, saying at the front desk of the library "this is an old book that’s been in our family for five generations."

St. Helena Public Library say the book is a one of a kind as far as they are aware, and it even incorporates an old subscription model.

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Back then, the library would lend books to patrons to take home for a monthly fee.

The library believe it is part of their original collection. Credit: St. Helena Public Library
The library believe it is part of their original collection. Credit: St. Helena Public Library

As per the Washington Post, Chris Kreiden, the library’s director, said: "This is the oldest one I’ve ever seen, definitely.

"I mean we’ve had things [checked out for] two or three years, maybe five, but never anything quite this long."

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So how did Perry come across the ancient book? Well, it was all thanks to a clear out.

"I’m 75 years old but very healthy," he said.

"But I don’t want to leave my kids with piles of stuff from yesteryear."

When he spotted the book lying on a shelf, Perry noticed it had been taken out by his wife’s grandfather, John McCormick, in 1927.

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“I didn’t know how special it was,” Perry said.

The story had been picked up by local radio stations and newspapers initially, but is now making headlines around the world.

Topics: Community, Books, US News

Callum Jones
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