I didn’t even know they were missing!


These two Darwin notebooks went missing 20 years ago, and just 15 months ago Cambridge University figured out that they were probably stolen?

Uh, OK, I kind of suspect that the Cambridge library needs to work on improving their security.

Comments

  1. René says

    I don’t do heros. But. In the Amsterdam municipal archives I saw a letter Ch. Darwin wrote to the director of Artis, the Amsterdam zoo. Seeing his signature moved me as much as finding a fossil Nautiloid in the South of France when I was just 18.

  2. René says

    Which I take it moved you a lot then?

    Explaining feelings to the unfeeling, is akin to explaining the fun of a joke to the humourless.

  3. StevoR says

    @ ^ René : Ouch. Sorry. I though I was making a bit of a joke there. Admittedly not a very good one..

  4. psanity says

    No, they knew they were missing from where they were supposed to be. It just took them 18 years to “fingertip check” everything in the library to make absolutely certain they weren’t merely misplaced. It’s a big library, with lots of documents in boxes and so forth. And they didn’t want to cause a false alarm.

    There’s something very l-space about this story.

  5. unclefrogy says

    given the reality of a very old library with a deep history in possession of many very rare and valuable manuscripts and books and I am sure working under budget limits I am not surprised much that some things are missing.
    there is an eager market for much of what they have and It is clear that their security and resource management procedures need to be modernized to best make use of what they have for the future

  6. raven says

    given the reality of a very old library with a deep history in possession of many very rare and valuable manuscripts and books and I am sure working under budget limits I am not surprised much that some things are missing.

    Hmmm, I think we know what happened to the Holy Grail now.
    I hope it didn’t end up in the same storeroom as the Ark of the Covenant.

  7. astringer says

    xohjoh2n @11

    more likely they are to be found in Castle Stal… aaaaaaaaaagggh

  8. John Morales says

    I imagine they have been digitised.

    (I find it hard to imagine a scenario where the actual originals are of more than sentimental value — it’s the information they contain, not the medium itself)

  9. Silentbob says

    @ Morales

    They’re historical artifacts you dolt. No one is dependent on “the information they contain”.

  10. John Morales says

    Silentbob, to what supposedly imputed dependence do you refer?

    Look: anything of the same age is no less a historical artifact.

    (What do you imagine makes it significant?)

    But sure, care about the form, not the content.

    (His historical contribution is the physical historical artifacts, not the ideas or their exposition. I get your conceit)

  11. moarscienceplz says

    “(I find it hard to imagine a scenario where the actual originals are of more than sentimental value — it’s the information they contain, not the medium itself)”
    We can now solve very old criminal cases by extracting DNA from cigarette butts and disposable coffee cups, something unimaginable fifty years ago. Charles Darwin touched and breathed on these notebooks, who knows what information they contain that we haven’t even thought to look for yet.

  12. jacksprocket says

    Just a couple of little notebooks? Aberdeen (Scotland) municipal art gallery has lost over 1500 paintings recently- including many works by “collectable” painters. They put them “somewhere” refurbished the gallery, and can’t find them now. Nobody, it seems, was responsible for recording where they’d been put, or making sure they were still there, or checking their condition. The price of the lost works probably exceeds the $50 miliion they spent on the upgrade.

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