A set of notebooks previously owned by Charles Darwin have been returned to the University of Cambridge. The notes were missing for over 20 years, and no one can find a culprit to this day.
Anonymous Person Returns Darwin Notebooks
Two notebooks used by Charles Darwin went missing over 20 years ago. After someone stole the set, investigators could neither find the materials nor the criminal responsible. One of the valuable notebooks contained a sketch from 1837 — the incredibly famous Tree of Life.
But then someone returned the notebooks to Cambridge University's library. The university came out with a statement as soon as workers received the package. Someone had left it right by the librarian's office wrapped in plastic within a pink gift bag. A brown envelope was also present in the bag. It included the notebooks' archive box and a printed note that said, “Librarian, Happy Easter X.” Of course, the librarians were ecstatic to find the collector's items, which are worth millions of dollars.
Previously, the employees found them missing during a routine check in January 2001. The small box had disappeared from the special collections strong rooms. A years-long search didn’t garner any results, and the books were assumed to have been stolen. So, the university officially stated that the Darwin books were missing in November 2020. That month, the university asked good Samaritans all over the world for help. "My sense of relief at the notebooks' safe return is profound and almost impossible to adequately express,” Dr. Jessica Gardner, a Cambridge University librarian, said.
Crucial For The History Of Humankind
Why are those notebooks from Darwin so important? Some notes, such as the Tree of Life, explain the theory of evolution that Darwin is known for — that all species on this planet are related and how they evolved. That said, the first sketch of the Tree of Life is outstandingly valuable. Drawn in the summer of 1837, it predates On the Origin of Species by 20 years.
Dr. Gardner explained that these Darwin notebooks are a huge part of human history. “Along with so many others all across the world, I was heartbroken to learn of their loss and my joy at their return is immense," she said in a statement. "They may be tiny, just the size of postcards, but the notebooks' impact on the history of science, and their importance to our world-class collections here, cannot be overstated."
"I am incredibly glad to hear of the notebooks' safe return to their rightful home....Objects such as these are crucial for our understanding of not only the history of science but the history of humankind." Professor Stephen J. Toope, the Cambridge University vice-chancellor, agreed.
The investigation into the notebook's disappearance and return is still ongoing.