OVERDUE: Tucson library receives postcard from the past

The postcard, originally dated in 1973, was returned to the Murphy-Wilmot Library on Tuesday,...
The postcard, originally dated in 1973, was returned to the Murphy-Wilmot Library on Tuesday, August 13, 2019. (Source: KOLD News 13)
Updated: Aug. 15, 2019 at 10:01 PM MST
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1973 fine notice just arrives back at the library.

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - There was blast from the past at one Pima County library this week and we aren’t talking about additions to the ‘Archives’ section.

This mystery story came in the mail.

“That’s what caught my eye, where it says Tucson Public Library, we haven’t been that for well over twenty years," said Lupita Chavez, a supervisor at the Murphy-Wilmot Branch.

Chavez held the postcard Thursday afternoon. It was sent to inform a member of the “Tucson Public Library” that he or she had not returned a book, or books, that were due.

“I’m not even sure what the fines were at that point," said Chavez. "I’m going to assume probably around five cents, versus the 10 cents and 25 cents now.”

The postcard was sent in 1973. It was returned to the Murphy-Wilmot branch this week.

“It was 10 August, the day we got it was the 13th. So it took three days to get from Phoenix to Tucson, but stayed somewhere for 46 years, which is kinda odd," Chavez said.

Weathered, the yellow card shared a short reminder to the user to return his or her items. The initials ‘lc’ were signed in a red pen at the bottom of the card.

Coincidence, for the supervisor?

“Well, I was seven, so definitely know it wasn’t me," said Chavez.

That one was question with a clear answer, but others remain. Who was the postcard going to? What were the late fees for?

“I don’t think there’s really going to be any way for us to know exactly who it went to and whether or not we got that book back," said Chavez. "But, I like to think we got that book back and this person has been happily using the library since then with no problems.”

KOLD News 13 reached out to the United States Postal Service about what could be behind the delay or failed delivery.

A representative shared this information:

“In most cases like this, what we typically find is that old letters and postcards – sometimes purchased at flea markets, antique shops and even online – are re-entered into our system. These historic finds usually don’t involve mail that had been lost in our network and later found.”

The Murphy-Wilmot Library shared the find on it’s Facebook Tuesday. One suggestion was the postcard may have gotten lost behind equipment.

As for the last chapter of this mystery story? We may never get to read it.

We don't know how... We don't know why... but we received this postcard from the past today. 46 years later....

Posted by Murphy-Wilmot Library on Tuesday, August 13, 2019

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