(London) Missing for more than 20 years at the British University of Cambridge and believed to have been stolen, two valuable Charles Darwin notebooks were recently re-found secretly in a gift bag left with a greeting card in the library.
Posted at 7:53 am yesterday
Two notebooks, one of which contains a sketch of the “Tree of Life” that became a symbol of the English naturalist’s theory of evolution, “returned to the library at Cambridge University in good condition two decades later.” They disappeared, the library said in a statement Tuesday.
The notebooks were delivered anonymously in a pink bag on March 9, 2022, as well as an envelope wishing librarians a “Happy Easter”.
“My relief is so deep that with the safe return of the notebooks, it is almost impossible to express them properly,” said Jessica Gardner, director of library services.
“Like many others in the world, I was heartbroken when I realized their loss and the joy of their return was immense,” she added.
MMe Gardner made a widespread appeal in November 2020 to find “possibly stolen” notebooks worth several million pounds. Information was provided to local police and notebooks were added to the Interpol database of stolen artifacts.
In September 2000, two notebooks were taken from the library’s room for photography. A simple inspection in January 2001 found them in a small box the size of a paperback. No space.
For many years librarians believed that notebooks were misplaced in a library containing nearly 10 million books, maps, manuscripts, and other objects.
The work of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), the father of the theory of evolution, made it possible to understand that humans were not at the center or top of life.
The two discovered notebooks will be presented to the public this summer as part of an exhibition dedicated to the scientist in Cambridge.