Anthropodermic bibliopegy – the technical term for books bound in human skin. Ok, I’m a librarian and this one is even new to me. And I took a class on book binding in library school.
But a 3L at Harvard has written an interesting, albeit it disturbing, piece about this practice. From the article in the The Record, the Independent Newspaper at Harvard Law School:
While it’s not clear how many extant books actually have been bound in human skin, many older libraries (such as the library of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia which has four such books, including one with a visible tattoo) have such tomes in their collection, suggesting that anthropodermically bound books number somewhere in the hundreds. Many of these books were likely bound in the 18th or 19th centuries, though some may be centuries older, while a few may even be younger.
Thanks (I think) to my colleague Mary Jo Koranda for passing this on.