A man who was picking through a dumpster in 2014 for a community service project unexpectedly recovered a slice of American history.
For two years, Max Brown researched his find: a pile of 15 worn books, retrieved from a trove of many more volumes that he left behind, in the Incline Village, Nevada, dumpster. He noted an inscription of "from the Library of Thomas Jefferson," but was told by an appraiser that such provenance was fake.
After he had sold some of the books on eBay, Brown continued his sleuthing only to be notified by Jefferson’s presidential library that his volumes had indeed been part of the Jefferson collection. Brown recently tracked down the family to which the remaining volumes and other momentoes belonged.
More than 6,000 volumes from Jefferson's personal library went to the Library of Congress after the British burned down the Capitol in 1814.