HARVARD LIBRARY HAS
BOOKS COVERED IN SKIN
What makes the finding of three books in the Harvard Library so different? Could it be what was on the inside that made them unusual? It was exactly the opposite.
It was what was on the outside that made these three books so incredibly unique. Experts at Harvard said that they have confirmed that a 19th-century book housed in one of the university’s libraries is bound in human skin.
Recently, employees at Harvard Library came across three books that had an unusual feeling cover. They were slightly smooth and even a little shiny, unlike any leather-bound books they’ve seen before.
Scientists and conservators carried out a series of tests on Houghton Library’s copy of the French writer Arsene Houssaye’s “Des destinees de l’ame” and concluded with 99.9% confidence that the binding material came from a human. Yes, real human skin!
Because this seemed absolutely shocking, they decided to do a little bit of research, and found that books bound with skin were actually quite popular in the 17th century.
It’s called Anthropodermic Bibliopegy. It was often done on anatomical textbooks. This practice became popular as medical professionals would use the skin of cadavers after they dissected them for research. This was their way of ensuring nothing went to waste.
Clancy's comment: Interesting, but spooky.