Program in the History of the Book  in American Culture

 


Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin
with Megan Rosenbloom

Thursday, February 25, 2021 2 pm EST

Approx. 45 minutes

Watch on YouTube

This program is free but requires advanced registration.

The American Antiquarian Society is hosting a virtual book talk with Megan Rosenbloom, author of Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin.

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, innocents, 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.

Megan Curran 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 is Obituary Editor of the Journal of the Medical Library Association and President of the Southern California Society for the History of Medicine. She is actively involved in a number of ways in the Medical Library Association and other professional organizations.

Rosenbloom is the co-founder and director of Death Salon, the event arm of The Order of the Good Death, and a leader in the Death Positive movement. She is part of 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, and her debut book about this practice, titled Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin, published October 20, 2020 with Farrar, Straus & Giroux.  In a former life she was a journalist in Philadelphia and continues to write for both academic and non-academic publications.

Order this book directly from the publisher at macmillan.com.

Megan Rosenbloom









Quick Links
Catalog | Login | Digital A-Z

Hours
By appointment:
Monday: 9-5
Tuesday: 10-5
Wednesday: 9-5
Thursday: 9-5
Friday: 9-5

Link to AAS Facebook Link to AAS TwitterLink to AAS BlogLink to AAS Instagram   Link to AAS YouTube