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Mystery solved: Napa man thinks grandfather-in-law checked out decades-overdue St. Helena library book

Book turned into St. Helena Library 96 years overdue
Book turned into St. Helena Library 96 years overdue 04:05

ST. HELENA -- An official with the St. Helena Public Library on Tuesday said they believe they have learned who checked out a copy of 'The History of the United States' nearly a century ago that was recently turned in. 

St. Helena Library Director Christina Kreiden emailed KPIX Tuesday morning with the news, saying the library had received a call from "our mystery man." 

library book returned
A book returned to St. Helena Public Library that was 96 years overdue is now on display in the library's entryway. St. Helena Public Library

Kreiden said the man, who identified himself as Napa resident Jim Perry, told the library he believes the book was probably checked out by his grandfather-in-law John McCormick, whose family settled into this area in the 1800s. 

McCormick died in 1936. Perry told the library he was doing some "cleaning up" and found the long overdue volume in a stack of old books and decided to return it to the Library. 

Perry said he watches KPIX to get his local Bay Area news, but caught the recent story about the book being turned in while visiting Minnesota for a wedding. He said he and his family have been enjoying the story.

Krieden said she and the library staff have also been amazed by the story's popularity and can't believe how widely it spread after going viral. 

"A relative of a co-worker living in France sent a screenshot of the French version of Yahoo! News mentioning our little library. put us on their website," she wrote in an email.

Krieden said the book is now sitting in the library's front entry display case along with some newspaper clippings of its return 96 years after it was due.

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