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George Washington’s Library Fine

By Paperstone on May 5, 2010 in Books & Pads


Librarians in the New York Society Library, the city’s oldest, have discovered that two books George Washington took out in 1789 have still not been returned. Adjusting for inflation, this means that the dead president owes some $300,000 in library fines.

On 5 October 1789, Washington borrowed Emmerich de Vattel’s Law of Nations, a treatise on the rights and obligations of rights and citizens, and a volume of House of Commons debates. They were due back on 12 November that year.

The library will waive the fine if the books are returned.


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