On Dec. 7, 1968, Richard Dodd of Winamac, Ind., returned a book to the University of Cincinnati medical library, noting that it was overdue.
It certainly was. The book, Medical Reports of Effects of Water — Cold and Warm — as a Remedy in Fever and Febrile Diseases, Whether Applied to the Surface of the Body or Used Internally, had been checked out by Dodd’s great-grandfather in 1823. It was 145 years late.
Dodd, whose grandfather and great-grandfather had both attended medical school at Cincinnati, had received the book as part of an inheritance. The library decided not to fine him, which is a good thing — librarian Cathy Hufford calculated that the fee would have come to $22,646.