Overdue Library Book Returned 49 Years Later

Mar 21, 2016

James Philips says he must've forgotten to return History of the Crusades to the University of  Dayton library when he joined the Marines. Now, 49 years later, the book is finally returned and heading back into circulation.

Philips, who lives in Minnesota, recently mailed the book back to UD with this note:

“Please accept my apologies for the absence of the enclosed book History of the Crusades. I apparently checked it out when I was a freshman student and somehow it got misplaced all these years.”

The university contacted Philips who told them he checked out the book in 1967 but left school for the Marine Corps without returning it. He says he picked it up either for a class or just because it looked interesting.

Philips says his belongings were gathered up and sent to his parents. When they died, the items were sent on to his younger brother by mistake.

"He eventually realized the error and to my great surprise I received a box of goods from him. Lo and behold! Among those items in the box was the History of the Crusades book," Phillips said.

While Phillips reports he feels better now that the book is back where it belongs, the University's communications and outreach librarian says no one even knew it was missing.

"It was interesting to see a book that had no evidence of our modern technology returned. It still has the old borrowing card stamped with dates back to 1950," she said. "It was very thoughtful of him to do this because not everyone would choose to return it after so long."

According to a statement, the late fee in 1967 was two cents per day. However, UD says it won't be sending Phillips a bill, which WVXU estimates at around $350.

The book will be back on the library shelf as soon as librarians add a modern barcode so it doesn't go missing again.