Caldwell-Lake George Library – Lake George, New York - Atlas Obscura

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Caldwell-Lake George Library

Of all the unique artifacts inside this library, a mummified hand stands out among the others. 


The Caldwell-Lake George Library collection dates back to the 1880s when local resident DeWitt Clinton Hay died. Hay bequeathed his extensive personal library and artifact collection to the town to be consolidated into a free library. The library was constructed in 1906. The original librarian, Mary Hubbell, served the community at the library until 1958. There have only been five librarians at Caldwell over the course of its storied history.

Among Hay’s collection were several old tomes, some of which now reside in the library’s archive. Many of them are still in circulation and sit on the library’s shelves.

Hubbell contributed some oddities of her own to the library collection. The strangest being a severed, mummified hand she acquired through undocumented and mysterious means. Sometime between 1958, when Hubbell ceased her service as a librarian, and 1982, the hand mysteriously disappeared from the library shelves.

The hand was rediscovered at an estate sale. The man who found the hand mailed it back to the library with a request that it remain on permanent display with a card affixed to it reading: “Egyptian Mummified Hand Belonging to Former Librarian, Miss Mary Hubbell.”

The hand has sat on display in the library ever since. The current staff periodically checks to make sure the hand hasn’t mysteriously vanished again. It’s unknown if the hand is ancient or is actually Hubbell’s severed hand. 

Know Before You Go

The library has a postage stamp of a parking lot out back for patrons to use. There is free Wi-Fi and computer use, and the library staff is very knowledgeable about the local history and happenings of Lake George.

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August 2, 2021

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