A copy of the book “Famous Composers vol. 2″ has made its return to the Saint Paul Public Library in Minnesota, after more than a century of being loaned out. The 1902 edition of Nathan Haskell Dole’s book was discovered by a user in Hennepin County while going through his mother’s belongings, as reported by the city’s library director, Maureen Hartman, in an interview with CNN.
The rare find had spent very little time on the library’s shelves, as evidenced by loan stamps and a registration card, with stamps from the years 1914 and 1916 during its brief history in the library catalogue, before and after the devastating fire in 1915 that destroyed the entire Old Market Library. The work will no longer circulate and is set to be put on display as part of the Saint Paul Collection, which documents the city’s history, reported The Guardian.
In a fragile but intact state, the book retains its original binding and shows signs of use and annotations that document its extensive history. Saint Paul Mayor Melvin Carter humorously pondered on the fine the book would have accrued, had it not been returned, given the library’s 2019 decision to waive late fees. The coordinator of the Saint Paul digital library, John Larson, highlighted the book’s historical relevance and encouraged overdue book holders to return their items, stating “All is forgiven.”
Among the curiosities found in the book are handwritten annotations, including a mathematical equation solved on one of the cards: the calculation of the difference between the years 1928 and 1791, as reported by ABC News. Library director Maureen Hartman expressed gratitude for the opportunity to shed light on this specific book and the value of libraries in general. “This has shown us once again that these sites are as interesting and loved now as they were 100 years ago,” she told CNN.