Return of two lost Darwin notebooks

when did they disappear? It happened two decades ago. Time enough to believe they were lost forever. But it turned out they were not. Recently, two of Darwin’s lost notebooks were returned. The delivery was made to Cambridge University.


Worldwide search

One of Charles Darwin’s notebooks includes his iconic sketch of the “Tree of Life.” Its return comes 15 months after Dr. Jessica Gardner initiated a campaign. She is a librarian at Cambridge University. She launched a worldwide appeal for information, in partnership with Cambridgeshire Police and Interpol.

The notebooks were returned anonymously to the Library on March 9, 2022. They are in good condition. There are no obvious signs of significant handling. And there is no evidence of damage sustained in the years since their disappearance.

They were returned in a bright pink gift bag. It contained the archival box of notebooks and inside a plain brown envelope. It was addressed to the University Librarian with the printed message, “Librarian, Happy Easter, X”.

Dr. Jessica Gardner initiated a campaign to recover them.
Dr. Jessica Gardner initiated a campaign to recover them.

Next exhibition

The notebooks, which were wrapped in cling film. They were left on the floor in a public area of the library outside the librarian’s office on the fourth floor of the 17-story building. The police investigation into the disappearance and subsequent return of the notebooks is ongoing. About it reports the University in a statement.

The original public appeal was shared around the world. And it generated thousands of news articles and reached hundreds of thousands through social media.

Now that two lost Darwin notebooks were returned, the university recognizes the great popularity of this material. They thought the something as a thank you for this global effort to find the lost notebooks. Cambridge University Libraries will display the notebooks starting in July as part of the upcoming Darwin in Conversation exhibition. When does it open? July 9.

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