« Woman finds mercury in pepper shaker at Wendy's | Main | Leviathan Prints Available »

Many U.S. Libraries Have Books Bound in Human Skin

Some of nation's best libraries have books bound in human skin - Boston.com

January 7, 2006

PROVIDENCE, R.I. --Brown University's library boasts an unusual anatomy book. Tanned and polished to a smooth golden brown, its cover looks and feels no different from any other fine leather.

But here's its secret: the book is bound in human skin.

A number of prestigious libraries -- including Harvard University's -- have such books in their collections. While the idea of making leather from human skin seems bizarre and cruel today, it was not uncommon in centuries past, said Laura Hartman, a rare book cataloger at the National Library of Medicine in Maryland and author of a paper on the subject.