Two of Charles Darwin’s notebooks which contains his pioneering ideas on evolution and his famous “Tree of Life” sketch are missing. It is believed that the books are stolen, the Cambridge University Library said on Tuesday. Darwin’s notebooks are missing from Cambridge and it is an issue of grave concern.
In 1837, after returning from his voyage on the HMS Beagle, the British scientist filled the leather notebooks. The library said the books were worth millions of pounds. He drew a diagram which shows several possibilities for the evolution of a species in one book. Later, he published a more developed illustration in his 1858 book “On the Origin of Species”.
Darwin’s notebooks as missing from Cambridge
In 2001, after they were moved out of the Special Collections Strong Rooms for photography to be carried out there, the University of Cambridge’s vast library first listed the notebooks as missing.
The university believed that the books were incorrectly filed within the building. The building contains over 10 million books, maps and manuscripts. It has one of the world’s most significant Darwin archives.
However, a major search this year which is the largest in the library’s history failed to turn up the notebooks. Also, the curators came to the conclusion that the notebooks were stolen, the library said in a statement.
It had informed local police. Also, listing on Interpol’s database of stolen artworks includes this book, called Psyche, it said.
Appeal to the public to help
The university librarian, Jessica Gardner, released a video appealing to the public for help. Also, after numerous wide-scale search over the last 20 years, they could not find the books. Further, she said that the missing of the notebooks was regretful to her. After the incident, massive improvements have been made in the security system of the library.
Further, she suggested that former or current library staff, those working in the book trade or researchers could have information. “I would ask anyone who thinks they know of the notebooks whereabouts to get in touch. Please help,” she said.
On November 24, the appeal was launched. The day is known as Evolution Day since it marks the date of the publication of “On the origin of species”.