Sex manual that failed to save marriage returned to library 54 years late

A 1926 sexual instruction manual was returned to a Manhattan library 54 years late. (Photo: Billy Parrot via NY Public Library)

A 1926 sexual instruction manual was returned to a Manhattan library 54 years late. (Photo: Billy Parrot via NY Public Library)

NEW YORK (PIX11) – A “shocked in-law” sorting through a former New Yorker’s belongings in Arizona discovered a library book more than five decades overdue.

The book was “Ideal Marriage” by Th.H. Van de Velde, M.D., a “very wordy and very scientific” manual for having sex, circa 1926.

It was returned last year with this message, according to a blog post by Billy Parrot, managing librarian at the Mid-Manhattan Library:

We found this book amongst my late brother-in-law’s things. Funny thing is the book didn’t support his efforts with his first (and only) marriage… it failed! No wonder he hid the book! So sorry!!

A shocked in-law

A two-week loan, “Ideal Marriage” was supposed to be handed back to the New York Public Library on Aug. 17, 1959. But didn’t make its way back home until 2013 — 54 years late.

This note accompanied a library book 54 years overdue. (Photo: Billy Parrot via NY Public Library)

This note accompanied a library book 54 years overdue. (Photo: Billy Parrot via NY Public Library)

In his July 25 blog post, Parrott waxed philosophically about what it is about humans that will let allow library books languish for days, months or even years past their due date.

“Is it a fear of disapproval? The guilty feelings brought about by abusing a free resource and depriving others of those resources?” he wrote.

Or maybe, in this case, it was the book’s subject matter that made it impossible for him to look a librarian in the eye, Parrot hypothesized.

Or maybe still, the instructions were presented so blandly and produced so few results, he couldn’t justify paying the late fees.

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