WI woman buys copy of Les Miserables belonging to Civil War general

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

OSKHOSH (WITI) -- An Oshkosh woman recently discovered she's the owner of a piece of history. A copy of Les Miserables was originally owned by a Civil War General, and Sarah Anderson bought the book for $3 at Oshkosh library's book sale five years ago!

Since 2008 the copy of Les Miserables sat on Anderson's shelf.

After seeing the new movie, she looked at it with new eyes and realized the original owner was someone special: General 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 said.

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 January 2nd," Anderson said.

The book came from an Oshkosh Public Library Sale. The friends of the library sort through donated books ahead of the sale.

"They get set aside then the research starts," Lisa Voss said.

Voss said sometimes interesting pieces slip through the cracks.

"There are things that have come through here, maybe they were valuable and no one noticed it," Voss said.

Anderson says 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," Anderson said.

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,'" Anderson said.

Anderson says she will send the book to Colorado Springs next week.