Saturday, August 6, 2011


A list, in descending order, of notable library infractions:

Law of Nations and Commons Debates
Due: Nov. 2, 1789
New York Society Library, New York, N.Y., USA
Patron: George Washington
Not returned:
221 years overdue, but an identical edition of Law of Nations was sent from Mount Vernon to replace the missing book

History of England, Vol. 1 by Oliver Goldsmith
Borrowed: between 1796 and 1826
Federal Society Library, Camden, Maine, USA
Patron: Chuck Regan
Returned: May 2011, 185+ years overdue

Vol. 1 of 4-volume History of the War in the Peninsula and in the South of France From the Year 1807 to the Year 1814 by W.F.P. Napier
June 11, 1864
Leyburn Library, Washington & Lee University, Lexington, Virg., USA
Patron: C.S. Gates
Returned: Feb. 2009, 145 years after the theft

Insectivorous Plants by Charles Darwin
Borrowed: January 30, 1889
Camden Library, Sydney, N.S.W., AUS
Patron: Man who returned book to wrong library
Returned: June 2011, 122 years overdue

Antigone by Sophocles
Due: March 5, 1909
Suzzallo Library, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., USA
Patron: Ralph Day Major
Returned: March 5, 2009, exactly 100 years overdue

Facts I Ought to Know about the Government of My Country
Due: May 2, 1910
New Bedford Public Library, New Bedford, Mass., USA
Patron: Mother of Stanley Dudek who died 10 years ago
Returned: Dec. 2009, 99 years later (

Kim by Rudyard Kipling
Due: Aug. 29, 1927
Oakland Public Library, Oakland, Calif., USA
Patron: Marjorie Timm, who died in 1975
Returned: June 2005, 78 years overdue

A Dog of Flanders by Marie Louise de la Ramee
Borrowed: 1934
Mt. Clemens Public Library, Mt. Clemens, Mich., USA
Patron: Mark Mckee
Returned: Mar. 2010, 76 years overdue

Seaplane Solo
Due: 1936
Amador County Library, Sacramento, Calif., USA
Patron: Howard Severson
Returned: Oct. 2009, 74 years overdue

The Birth of Rome
Due: 1936
Chestnut Street Elementary School Library, Scottdale, Pa., USA
Patron: Thomas McArdle
Returned: Dec. 2009, 73 years overdue

The score of the musical "Rose Marie"
Borrowed: 1939
Cubitt Town Library, London, UK
Patron: Iris Chadwick
Returned: Aug. 2009, 70 years overdue

Sound and Symbol in Chinese

Borrowed: 1946
Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, Md., USA
Patron: John Wolfe
Returned: Dec. 2010, 65 years overdue

Knots, Splices and Fancy Work
Borrowed: 1957
Newcastle Region Library, Newcastle, N.S.W., AUS
Patron: Raymond McLaren
Returned: Nov. 1910, 53 years overdue

2 books by the Audubon Society
Due: 1959
Camelback High School Library, Phoenix, Ariz., USA
Patron: former student
Returned: Nov. 2009, 51 years overdue

Prince of Egypt
Borrowed: June 2, 1960
Hancock Michigan Public Library
Patron: Robert Nuranen
Returned: Jan. 2007, 46 years overdue

Quartermass and the Pit by Nigel Kneale
Due: Oct. 15, 1965
Dinnington Library, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK
Patron: Unknown
Returned: Mar. 2010, 45 years overdue

Samuel Pepys' Diary

Due: 1980
Wallington Library, London, UK
Patron: Ron Robb
Returned: Mar. 2011, 30 years overdue

The Dunwich Horror and Others by H.P. Lovecraft
Due: February 12, 1988
Wellington Library, Wellington, NZ
Patron: Undisclosed
Not returned: 23 years overdue

The libraries waived the fees, which amounted to thousands of dollars, but some patrons paid them voluntarily!

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