Two notebooks, one of which contains Darwin’s famous 1837 sketch of The Tree of Life, were returned to the Cambridge University Library in March 2022, the university said in a statement.
They were left outside the librarian’s office, wrapped in plastic, inside a pink gift bag with a brown envelope containing a file box of notebooks and an unsigned typed note.
“Librarian, Happy Easter X,” the note read.
The notebooks were returned with this note. Credit: Stuart Roberts / Cambridge University Library
At that time, the university issued a global appeal to help find the books.
One of two notebooks owned by Charles Darwin. Both books were returned anonymously in March 2022. Credit: Stuart Roberts / Cambridge University Library
“My sense of relief at the safe return of the notebooks is profound and almost impossible to adequately express. Like many people around the world, I was heartbroken to hear of their loss, and my joy at their return is immeasurable,” says the doctor. Jessica Gardner, a librarian at the University of Cambridge, said in a statement about the return of the notebooks.
“They may be tiny, the size of a postcard, but the impact of notebooks on the history of science and their importance to our world-class collections cannot be overestimated.”
“I am incredibly happy to hear of the safe return of the notebooks to their rightful home,” said Professor Stephen J. Toop, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, in a statement regarding the return of the notebooks.
“Objects like this are crucial to our understanding of not only the history of science but also the history of mankind.”
The statement said that the Cambridgeshire police are continuing to investigate the disappearance and return of the notebook.
Dr. Jessica Gardner looks at Darwin’s 1837 sketch of The Tree of Life. Credit: Stuart Roberts / Cambridge University Library