George Washington may not have been able to tell a lie, but he doesn’t appear to have been a model library patron 🙂
The revered founding father borrowed Emer de Vattel’s book The Law of Nations from the New York Society Library on October 5th, 1789 and never returned it.
The overdue fine accrued by President Washington, after 221 years, is estimated to be “about $300,000” according to Yahoo News! Staff at Mt. Vernon presented the New York Society Library with a replica copy of The Law of Nations during a ceremony held on May 19th.
According to Yahoo:
The missing book came to light when the New York Society Library was restoring its 1789-1792 charging ledger, which features the borrowing history of Washington, John Adams, John Jay, Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, George Clinton, and others.
The library conducted an inventory of books mentioned in the ledger and confirmed the book checked out by Washington was still missing.
Let this stand as a cautionary tale to borrowers one and all: The long arm of the library is indeed vigilant but always forgiving.