George Washington Owes $300,000 in Overdue Library Fine

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george washington library fine


George Washington owes one library money, a lot of money from a fine. The George Washington library fine as it is known, was a result of some long overdue books.

Who doesn’t know who George Washington was? Hardly anyone. He was the leader of the Rebel army during the American War of Independence and the first United States President. He is often regarded as one of the finest presidents the US has ever produced and his honesty can hardly be matched. But it appears as though he may have been hiding a little secret. George Washington failed to return two volumes to the New York Society Library, which was the only lender of books during Washington’s presidency. In 1789, New York was still the young nations capital. At today’s prices, with adjustments for inflation, Washington would face a late fine of $300,000 for the two overdue books to the library.

The library records show that Washington borrowed two books on the 5th October, 1789, only five months into his presidency. The two books were called Law of Nations, which were essays on international affairs, and the other was the twelfth volume of a 14-volume collection of debates from the English House of Commons. The ledger in the library only recorded “president” as the borrower. To support the recording, when the librarians checked their holdings they discovered that all of the 14 volumes of the debates from the English House of Commons were present, except for volume 12. The rules of the library mean the book was due back by the 2nd of November that same year, and George Washington and his descendants would be liable to a fine of a few cents a day.

Will the library pursue the George Washington library fine?

Even though the total sum of the overdue fee would now be in the vicinity of $300,000 for George Washington and his descendants, the library doesn’t want to try and recover the overdue fines.



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