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Library book, overdue for 120 years, returned

Most overdue library books only go over by a matter of days or weeks, but one book about microscopes managed to hide out for a dozen decades.

The book, along with a note from Boycott's granddaughter.
Hereford Cathedral School

Arthur Boycott attended Hereford Cathedral School in the UK between 1886 and 1894. During that time, the future professor borrowed a book called "The Microscope and its Revelations" and never took it back to the school's library.

Boycott's granddaughter, Alice Gillett, discovered the book in his extensive collection and decided it was time to return it. On Thursday, Hereford Cathedral School shared the epic tale.

"The Microscope" is a weighty, lengthy tome published in the mid-1800s by William B. Carpenter, a medical doctor.

Boycott ended up having a distinguished career in natural sciences with a particular interest in snails, so it makes sense he would have gravitated to a book with a chapter titled "Molluscous Animals Generally."

"I can't imagine how the school has managed without it!" Gillett joked. has a digital copy of the book. The scanned fifth edition from 1875 is illustrated with 25 plates and 449 wood engravings, just in case you were wondering.

The book is actually fascinating (if a little long-winded), so it's no wonder the school is happy to have it back after all this time. The library said it will waive the overdue fine of £7,446 ($9,370, AU$12,530).