Overdue book 'New Chronicles of Rebecca' is anonymously returned to library ...

Overdue book 'New Chronicles of Rebecca' is anonymously returned to library ...
Overdue book 'New Chronicles of Rebecca' is anonymously returned to library ...

An overdue children's book last checked out in 1910 from a public library in Idaho, which would have racked up more than $800 in late fees, has been anonymously returned, library officials said.

Published in 1907, an early edition of New Chronicles of Rebecca, by Kate Douglas Wiggins, was returned to the Garden Valley District Library on November 16, about 51 miles outside of Boise, city library officials said.

The Boise Public Library confirmed the book was originally borrowed from one of the city's first major public building —the Carnegie Public Library — more than a century ago. 

'The checkout desk noticed that it was rather old and it didn't have any current markings, so they looked into it,' city library assistant Anne Marie Martin told NBC affiliate KTVB of Boise. 'I don't think anybody here has seen a book' that's been away for so long,' she added.

It remains unclear who had checked out the copy, who had returned it or where it was for the last century. 

One theory is that the book could have stayed in an attic, 'because it was really well taken care of,' Lindsey Driebergen, interim communications manager of the Boise Public Library said, further describing the book as being in 'immaculate condition'.

'The cover was in great shape, all of the pages were crisp, nothing was missing, all the images were there,' she said. 

The spine of the early edition of The New Chronicles of Rebecca, written by Kate Douglas Wiggins

The first page of the book, showing its title, publisher and author

The first page and the spine of an early edition of New Chronicles of Rebecca. The book was checked out of the Boise Public Library in 1911 and returned in 2021

An inside illustration of The New Chronicles of Rebecca

An inside illustration of The New Chronicles of Rebecca

The book is a sequel to Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, which tells to the story of a girl named Rebecca Rowena Randall and her aunts, one stern and one kind, in the village of Riverboro, Maine. It was so popular back in the day that it was eventually adapted as a musical in 1938 that starred Shirley Temple as Rebecca.

After the Boise Public Library collected the antiquarian book, it was arranged to be placed in its history room, where readers can browse it but not check it out.   

Prior to its return, the then-popular book was checked out on a regular basis from the Carnegie Public Library, a building dating back from 1905 that is now on the National Register of Historic Places and has been repurposed for artists as studio space. 

And according to the library's rental policy, readers could keep books for two weeks without renewal before a fine of two

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