Early Entrepreneurs

"Eight O'clock Library Tyranny"
"Book Due at 8? Just Roll Over and Go Back to Sleep"
"'Big Business' Idea Crashes on Heads of Students"
"Stern Authority's 'No' Spells Doom For 8 O'Clockers"

In the early days of the University Library, books could only be checked out for one night at a time, beginning at 9pm, and had to be returned by 8am the following morning. For books returned late, there was a fine of $0.25 per day.

In 1935, two enterprising students tried to cash in on this policy, starting a book return service for students unwilling to make the early morning trip to the library. The students, Charles Bleich and Murray Roth, would collect library books left out on doorsteps and bring them to the library, for a fee of $0.05 per book.

However, just four days after Bleich and Roth started their messenger service, the University revoked their automobile permit, effectively ending their business. Library authorities were behind putting an end to the scheme, citing library books as a “personal responsibility.”

The newspaper articles below explain the start of the business and the reasons for its early demise.

 

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