June 5, 2023

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An American Returns the Book to the Library Nearly a Hundred Years Too Late: “How Wonderful” | The best on the web

An American man has returned a history textbook to a California library after nearly a hundred years. He found the book in a box belonging to his late wife. The man suspects that her grandfather lent the book in 1927.

“How amazing is that? 96 years ago someone borrowed this book from our library. It just goes to show that it’s never too late to return your library book,” St Helena Public Library wrote on Instagram.

It will be about the book called “The History of the United States.” by Benson Losing, published in 1881. When the library found out exactly how old the book was and how long the book had been on loan, they began looking for the unknown person who had returned the decanter earlier that month. The library brought the story to the attention of the US media.

It turned out to be Jim Perry. “I would clean the house and get rid of things that weren’t used,” he says. “This box was in a great place in our house where we kept the books.” Berry says he is “quite certain” that it was John McCormick, his late wife’s grandfather, who lent the book in 1927. The man was 55. When McCormick died in 1963 at the age of 91, the book passed to his youngest daughter. It eventually ended up in the hands of her daughter, Sandra Perry, wife of Jim Perry. She passed away in 2015.

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Perry thought it would be a good idea to return the book to (the successor to the library) from which it came, to cheer up the staff and “give them a go”. “But I didn’t realize it would have a special meaning for them.”

Library staff believe the book was one of 540 volumes originally available from the Free Public Library, the predecessor to the St. Helena Public Library. The book is now displayed behind glass at the entrance to the library.


The library used to charge 5 euro cents for each day a book was returned late. No fines have been imposed since 2019. Fortunately, because otherwise Berry would have to pay a fine of more than 1,500 euros.