But Was Amnesty Allowed: A 120 year old book was returned to a library

Somehow, I doubt the borrower was the one who returned it.

Library book that was nearly 120 years overdue finally returned in Massachusetts

NEW BEDFORD – A library book from New Bedford that was checked out nearly 120 years ago was found in West Virginia and returned.

The rare books curator at West Virginia University recently found a book about electricity in their donations. It’s called “An Elementary Treatise on Electricity” by James Clerk Maxwell. The slip inside showed it was checked out from the New Bedford Library and due back in December 1903.

“It’s never too late to return an overdue library book!” the library posted to Facebook.

As for a late fee, it was capped at just $2.

Good thing libraries don’t behave like banks, credit companies or HMOs.  It would have been a bigger fine than the book is worth on the collectors’ market.  Joking aside, it makes you wonder if the book does have value to collectors, whether it’s in good condition.


  1. flex says


    That’s the price for a 2nd edition(1888) ex-library copy rated ‘good’ on Abe Books.

    There is a ‘very-good’ first edition of the same volume. The first edition was printed in 1881 and edited by William Garnett. The seller is asking $600 for this copy.

    This is a great time to be a bibliophile, the demand for books is dropping and as long as the books you are looking for are not ‘collectible’ you can find some real deals.