Book Is Returned To a California Library Nearly a Century Late

A history book about the United States was returned to a library in California, almost 100 years overdue. The copy of Benson Lossing’s A History of the United States, published in 1881, was returned to St. Helena Public Library in Napa Valley, even though it was originally due back on February 21, 1927. At the time the book was borrowed, fines for overdue books were a nickel a day, meaning Jim Perry, who returned the book, theoretically owed about $1,815. Fortunately for him, the library had scrapped late fines in 2019. Perry found the book in a box of things that belonged to his late wife, Sandra Learned Perry. He said he was pretty sure her grandfather, John McCormick, was the original borrower of the book. Perry originally returned the book to the library’s front desk without leaving his name, but was tracked down after the library appealed for more information about the book’s history. Library staff suspected the book was one of 540 volumes originally available from the Free Public Library, a predecessor of St. Helena Public Library. The book has now been placed in a glass display case at the library’s entrance. The Guinness World Record for the return of an overdue book is currently held by a history book written in German, which was returned 287 years after it was checked out in Cambridge, UK.