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Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin

by Megan Rosenbloom

Paperback $36.99

$36.99

Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin

by Megan Rosenbloom

Paperback $36.99

$36.99

$36.99

On bookshelves around the world, surrounded by ordinary books bound in paper and leather, rest other volumes of a distinctly strange and grisly sort: those bound in human skin. Would you know one if you held it in your hand?

In Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind anthropodermic bibliopegy—the practice of binding books in this most intimate covering. Dozens of such books live on in the world’s most famous libraries and museums. Dark Archives exhumes their origins and brings to life the doctors, murderers, and indigents whose lives are sewn together in this disquieting collection. Along the way, Rosenbloom tells the story of how her team of scientists, curators, and librarians test rumored anthropodermic books, untangling the myths around their creation and reckoning with the ethics of their custodianship.

A librarian and journalist, Rosenbloom is a member of The Order of the Good Death and a cofounder of their Death Salon, a community that encourages conversations, scholarship, and art about mortality and mourning. In Dark Archives—captivating and macabre in all the right ways—she has crafted a narrative that is equal parts detective work, academic intrigue, history, and medical curiosity: a book as rare and thrilling as its subject.

Book Information

  • ISBN: 9781250800169
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pub Date: 22/02/2022
  • Category: Medicine / Medical ethics & professional conduct
    Lifestyle, sport & leisure / Antiques & collectables: books, manuscripts, ephemera & printed matter
  • Imprint: Picador US
  • Pages: 288
  • Price: $36.99

On bookshelves around the world, surrounded by ordinary books bound in paper and leather, rest other volumes of a distinctly strange and grisly sort: those bound in human skin. Would you know one if you held it in your hand?

In Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind anthropodermic bibliopegy—the practice of binding books in this most intimate covering. Dozens of such books live on in the world’s most famous libraries and museums. Dark Archives exhumes their origins and brings to life the doctors, murderers, and indigents whose lives are sewn together in this disquieting collection. Along the way, Rosenbloom tells the story of how her team of scientists, curators, and librarians test rumored anthropodermic books, untangling the myths around their creation and reckoning with the ethics of their custodianship.

A librarian and journalist, Rosenbloom is a member of The Order of the Good Death and a cofounder of their Death Salon, a community that encourages conversations, scholarship, and art about mortality and mourning. In Dark Archives—captivating and macabre in all the right ways—she has crafted a narrative that is equal parts detective work, academic intrigue, history, and medical curiosity: a book as rare and thrilling as its subject.

Author Information

Megan Rosenbloom is a medical librarian who studies the history of medicine and rare books. Formerly a journalist, she now serves as associate director for Instruction Services at the Norris Medical Library of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. She is also the obituary editor of the Journal of the Medical Library Association and serves on the board of the George Dock Society for the History of Medicine. She is also the cofounder and director of the Death Salon, the event arm of the Order of the Good Death, and is a leader in the Death Positive movement.

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