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Anonymous person sends $100 to Minnesota school library 64 years after losing book

After 64 years, someone who lost a book sent an apology and a donation to the school.

An anonymous note containing $100 and an apology for losing a book around 1957 was sent to Fulda schools. Submitted photo

FULDA, Minn. — The pangs of a guilty conscience apparently grew too painful for a former Fulda High School student who mailed an apology and a $100 bill to the school library last week.

“I lost a book from high school library about 1957-58,” the note reads, in carefully printed block letters. “Bothered me every since. Hope this rights a wrong.”

The envelope containing the note and the $100 arrived on Monday, Dec. 6, and was simply addressed “Fulda High School Library, Fulda, MN 56131.” In place of a return address was a sticker bearing an image of an owl.

Owls are traditionally a symbol of wisdom, knowledge and strategy, due to association with the goddess Athena in ancient Greece. Did the note-writer learn that at the Fulda Public School?

“It’s hard to say who it was,” said Loy Woelber, superintendent of Fulda Public School, pointing out that the mysterious book-misplacer was likely somewhere between grades five and 12 in 1957.


While $100 seems like a lot of money to replace a single book, the book’s initial cost and inflation may both have been factors in the writer’s generosity. A paperback would likely have cost about 50 cents at that time, and a new hardcover book may have been more in the $4 range.

An anonymous note containing $100 and an apology for losing a book around 1957 was sent to Fulda schools. Submitted photo free

Figuring for inflation, that would mean sending the library between $5 and $40. Did the note-writer learn about inflation at the Fulda Public School?

A more accurate figure for the amount owed might be reached by simply finding out how much money it would take to replace the book, and that could be around $30 for a hardcover, though many are on sale for the holiday season and the note-writer could potentially replace the book for around $12, or just get an e-book for around $15.

None of that would account for fines and fees or the 64 years of interest on those fines and fees.

Regardless of the numbers, the math very much pencils out for the school, which will likely use it to purchase books and materials for the school's library — meaning that Fulda students will certainly learn, thanks to the note-writer's contribution.

“It was just welcomed,” Woelber said. “... it’s kinda cute.”

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