The macabre practice of binding books in human skin sounds like the stuff of horror movies, but was actually perpetrated by well-respected doctors in the 19th century, a practice now known as anthropodermic bibliopegy. Would you know a human skin book if you held one in your hand? Join librarian and author Megan Rosenbloom as she discusses her debut bestselling book, Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation in the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin, and how her interdisciplinary scientific team’s work to prove and disprove claims of anthropodermic books fits into the emerging field of biocodicology – where researchers apply proteomic, genomic, and microgenomic methods to old books to reveal heretofore unimaginable truths hidden in their pages and bindings.
Megan Rosenbloom: Anthropodermic Bindings: Books Bound in Human Skin
Megan Rosenbloom is Collection Strategies Librarian at UCLA Library in Los Angeles. Megan served as a medical librarian for many years, where she developed a keen interest in the history of medicine and rare books. She leads a research team called The Anthropodermic Book Project that aims to find the historic and scientific truths behind the world’s alleged books bound in human skin, or anthropodermic bibliopegy. Megan is the co-founder and director of Death Salon, the event arm of The Order of the Good Death, and a proponent of the Death Positive movement. In a former life she was a journalist in Philadelphia and continues to write for both academic and non-academic publications.