Ramblings & ephemera

Library book returned 92 years late

From AP’s “Borrowed books returned to museum — 92 years later” (CNN: 6 November 2000):

The Field Museum of Natural History recently returned 10 volumes to the American Museum of Natural History in New York — 92 years late.

It seems a researcher from the New York museum took the books with him when he accepted a job at the Field Museum in 1908. American Museum officials suspect anthropologist Bertholt Laufer was using the books for research when he was hired away. …

Laufer had purchased 500 volumes — including texts on medicine and natural history — for the American Museum during an archaeological expedition to China from 1901 to 1904.

The American Museum didn’t even know 10 of the books — each belonging to a larger set — were missing until it decided in 1990 to computerize its collection.

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