He might not have been able to tell a lie, but he could steal a library book. I came across a story filed by Reuters on May 20, 2010.
George Washington, yes, THE George Washington, checked a book out of the New York Society Library on October 5, 1789. It was finally returned in May 2010. Just in case you’re wondering, the overdue fee on the book has been calculated to be around $300,000.
The New York Society Library, New York City’s oldest library, loaned Washington The Law of Nations by Elmer de Vattel, according to the library’s charging ledger (borrowing records). At the time that Washington checked the book out, the library and the federal government shared the same building in Manhattan.
“The missing book came to light when the New York Society Library was restoring its 1789-1792 charging ledger, which features the borrowing history of Washington, John Adams, John Jay, Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, George Clinton, and others,” according to Belinda Goldsmith who wrote the Reuters article.
When the library checked its book inventory, it found the book that Washington checked out was still missing. No one said anything about the find, or non-find as the case may be, until the New York Daily News recently announced the situation in an article.
“A few days after learning of the situation, staff at Washington’s home in Virginia, Mount Vernon, offered to replace Vattel’s Law of Nations with another copy of the same edition,” according to a statement from the library.
The missing book was returned to the library’s shelves on May 19, 2010.
Visit the New York Society Libary.