Finders Keepers? Not So Much...

Instant Grit

A 270-year-old book's been discovered in the vault of the Charleston Library Society... But they don't get to keep it. Who does?




The rare book, Dissertation Upon Parties by Henry St. John Lord Bolingbroke, was written in 1743 and donated to the college later that century by diplomat, planter, and avid book collector John Mackenzie. Without a proper library at the time, the college stored the book, along with about 800 others donated by Mackenzie, at the Library Society... until the fire of 1778 rolled through, destroying close to 90 percent of the donated goods. This volume, thought for centuries to have been ruined along with the others, was discovered in a recent search of the library's archives. 


The national news has picked up on this literary game of finders-keepers, too. A story written yesterday by the AP has popped up everywhere—from Sioux City, Iowa's KTIV News 4 to the pages of The Washington Post.


The relic will be handed over to the College of Charleston's 'Friends of the Library' Thursday morning in a ceremony at the Charleston Library Society. Want to check it out? (Not the book, the ceremony...) Feel free. According to the Addlestone Library's Special Collections department, anyone's welcome to attend. 


Thursday, May 10, 9 a.m. 
The Charleston Library Society
164 King Street


Read the full AP story here.


Photographs by the Associated Press