The two notebooks – one of which includes Darwin’s famous 1837 “Tree of Life” sketch – were returned to Cambridge University’s Library in March 2022, the university said in a statement.
They were left outside the librarian’s office and wrapped in plastic, inside a pink gift bag with a brown envelope containing the notebooks’ archive box, and an unsigned printed note.
“Librarian, Happy Easter X,” the note said.
The notebooks were returned with this note. Credit: Stuart Roberts / Cambridge University Library
At the time, the university issued a global call-out to help find the books.
One of the two notebooks owned by Charles Darwin. Both books were anonymously returned in March 2022. Credit: Stuart Roberts / Cambridge University Library
“My sense of relief at the notebooks’ safe return is profound and almost impossible to adequately express. 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,” Dr. Jessica Gardner, a Cambridge University librarian, said in a statement announcing the return of the notebooks.
“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,” Professor Stephen J Toope, the Cambridge University vice chancellor, said in a statement announcing the return of the notebooks.
“Objects such as these are crucial for our understanding of not only the history of science but the history of humankind.”
Cambridgeshire Police’s investigation of the notebook’s disappearance and return is ongoing, the statement added.
Dr. Jessica Gardner looks at Darwin’s 1837 “Tree of Life” sketch. Credit: Stuart Roberts / Cambridge University Library