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George Washington’s $300,000 library fine

Librarians in New York have discovered two missing books that were checked out by George Washington in 1789.

The first president of the United States of America borrowed two books from the New York Society Library in 1789 but failed to return them.
Adjusted for inflation, he has since racked up $300,000 (£195,000) in fines for being some 220 years late.

The New York Society Library says it will not pursue the fine. It would simply like the books back.

He famously never told a lie, but it seems George Washington was not without his faults, the BBC’s Madeleine Morris notes, reporting from Washington.

On 5 October 1789, the first president borrowed two books from what was then the only library in Manhattan – “Law of Nations,” a dissertation on international relations, and a volume of debate transcripts from Britain’s House of Commons.

George Washington did not even bother to sign his name in the borrower’s ledger. An aide simply scrawled “president” next to the title to show who had taken them out.

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