OSHKOSH - An Oshkosh woman recently discovered she's the owner of a piece of history. Her copy of "Les Miserables," which she bought for $3 at the Oshkosh library's book sale five years ago, was originally owned by a Civil War general.
Since 2008, the copy of "Les Miserables" sat on Sarah Anderson's shelf. After seeing the new movie, she looked at her book with new eyes and realized the original owner was someone special: Gen. William J. Palmer.
"He's the founder of Colorado Springs, the Denver Railroad, he was a spy in the Civil War, he was a general," Anderson told FOX 11.
Thinking she had a rare find, Anderson called the archivist at the Colorado Pioneer Museum in Colorado. The archivist verified it belonged to Palmer.
"She was just floored. She said I made her year and it was only Jan. 2," said Anderson.
The book came from an Oshkosh Public Library Sale. The friends of the library sort through donated books ahead of the sale to find any that might have higher value.
"They get set aside then the research starts," said head of library development Lisa Voss.
But sometimes interesting pieces slip through the cracks.
"There are things that have come through here, maybe they were valuable and no one noticed it," explained Voss.
Anderson told us she's not sure the monetary value of the book. She's donating it to the Colorado museum for its historical value.
"To where the rest of his collection is. I think that's where it belongs...it just blows my mind. It seems like I was meant to find this book," said Anderson.
Anderson is donating the book in her son Henry's name. She lost three-year-old Henry in 2009 to a rare immune-deficiency disorder.
"So many of the quotes from the book that Victor Hugo wrote I've thought of in the last three years since we lost Henry, like, 'even the darkest night will end and the day will rise.," said Anderson with tears in her eyes.
In fact, books mean so much to Anderson she actually publishes children's books in Henry's name. They are some of the bedtime stories Henry and his dad made up together and they all deal with animals. Anderson told us her son loved animals.
According to Anderson, the books are meant to bring awareness to children living with rare diseases. She sells them to raise money for Children's Hospital. You can find out more about the books here: www.adventuresofhenry.com .
The next book sale at the Oshkosh Public Library will be on Jan. 29.
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