Presidential Pardon

george washingtonWe may hate to admit it, but the majority of us have, at some point, returned library books past the due date.  Even librarians have been guilty of being in possession of overdue library materials.  Fear not, we are in fact, in good company.  Its seems that the founding father of the United States, our very first President, George Washington is the record holder for the most overdue library book.  Five months into his presidency, September 1789, Washington borrowed the legal manifesto, Law of Nations: Principles of the Law of Nature; or Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns by Monsieur De Vattel from the New York Society Library in New York City.  For the next 221 years the book lay forgotten amongst other belongings at Washington’s Mount Vernon home in Virginia.  Library officials at the New York Society were aware of the lost book but were not holding out much hope.  Miraculously, in 2010 the book was found and the staff at Mount Vernon returned the book to the New York Society Library.  George Washington’s late fee of $300,000 was waived by the NYSL.  Now, that’s a lot of dollars….   

This article first appeared in the June 2015 issue of Syosset Public Library’s newsletter, The Book Club Insider.

-posted by Lisa J., Readers’ Services

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