The crew here at Official Lost and Found Day don’t pretend to have started the concept of a Lost and Found. Nor do we claim to be the first to come up with the idea of a Lost and Found Day. Because as long as there has been stuff, there has been a lost and found of some sort, back to the earliest humans we suppose. Though recorded history isn’t very comprehensive -
First advertising of this kind appears on papyruses in Ancient Greece and Rome. The first modern lost and found office was organized in Paris in 1805. Napoleon ordered his prefect of police to establish it as a central place “to collect all objects found in the streets of Paris”, according to Jean-Michel Ingrandt, who was appointed the office’s director in 2001. However, it was not until 1893 that Louis Lépine, then prefect of police, organized efforts to actively track down the owners of lost items.
Hooray for Napoleon!
Lost and Founds are something akin to libraries filled with books written in Latin. They exist just in case somebody comes looking, but rarely do they serve any proactive purpose. Lost items accumulate at a rate far beyond the rate of claimed items. And so the lost items sit, waiting, until the organizers of that particular lost and found discard them through various means, including taking them home as presents for friends and relatives.
And while there have been many small local Lost and Found Days at various schools, churches, community centers, etc, there has never been a comprehensive Official Lost and Found Day to galvanize the masses towards reconnecting the losers with the lost.
Not until Official Lost and Found Day was declared on Friday, December 14th, 2012. From that point forward, Official Lost and Found Day is now held the 2nd Friday of each December.