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After 20 years of disappearance, two of Darwin’s notebooks have returned to Cambridge

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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(London) Missing for more than 20 years from the University of Cambridge and considered stolen, Charles Darwin’s precious notebooks recently appeared mysteriously in a gift bag left in the library with a greeting card.

Posted yesterday at 7:53 AM

Two notebooks, one containing a diagram of the “tree of life” that has become a symbol of the theory of evolution for English naturalists, “are in good condition and have been returned to the Cambridge University Library after more than two decades. They were found missing,” the library said in a statement on Tuesday. “.

The notebooks were delivered anonymously on March 9, 2022 in a pink bag with an envelope wishing “Happy Easter” to librarians, as indicated.

“My satisfaction with the safe return of notebooks is profound and almost impossible to properly express,” said Jessica Gardner, Director of Library Services.

“Like so many around the world, I was heartbroken to learn of their loss and the joy of their return is immense,” she added.

Mme Gardner was behind a widespread appeal in November 2020 to find the “likely stolen” notebooks, valued at several million pounds. The local police were notified and the notebooks were added to the INTERPOL database of stolen artworks.

The two notebooks were taken out of the room where the library’s most valuable photography books are kept in September 2000. During a routine check in January 2001, the small box containing them, about the size of a paperback, was found to have been misplaced.

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For many years, librarians believed that the notebooks had been misplaced in the library, which holds some 10 million books, maps, manuscripts, and other materials.

The work of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), the father of evolution, made it possible to understand that humans were neither at the center of life nor at its head.

The two notebooks found will be presented to the public this summer as part of an exhibition in Cambridge dedicated to the world.

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