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FBI tracks down stolen Charles Darwin letter from 1875

A Charles Darwin letter was recovered by FBI agents more than three decades after it was stolen from the Smithsonian.

Written in 1875, agents tracked it down after getting a tip on its location. The FBI did not disclose where the recovered the document, or if any criminal charges were being filed.

"The letter was stolen from the Smithsonian Archives in the mid 1970s, shortly after the Archives received the Merrill Papers, but before the letter could be inventoried," a press release stated.

The FBI returned it to the institute's archives director Anne Van Camp. "This is an important event as this type of crime is not easily detected, and it demonstrates how seriously the FBI regards our cultural heritage," she stated in the release.

The text of the letter reads:

May 2nd

Dear Sir,
I am much obliged to you for your kindness & for the honour which you have done me in sending your Geological Report of the Yellowstone River & your Preliminary Field Report on the Colorado & New Mexico. I had heard of your Geological researches on the Colorado & was anxious to see the conclusions at which you had arrived, & I am therefore especially obliged to you for having sent me your works.
With much respect & my best thanks, I remain,
Dear Sir,
yours faithfully
Charles Darwin