Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Anthropodermic Bindings

Just about once a year the topic of books bound in human skin (aka anthropodermic bindings) is brought up again in the biblioworld, to the delight of some and the disgust of others. Scott Brown over at Fine Books Blog notes that his most popular post ever is his discussion of human skin bindings (here). Scott adds a photograph and description of a book in the Stanford Medical Library which was bound in human skin for Hans Friedenthal, a prominent physiologist and anthropologist.

Scott also points us to the classic essay on anthropodermic bindings, "Tanned Human Skin," by Lawrence S. Thompson, which appeared in the April 1946 Bulletin of the Medical Library Association. Not for the squeamish indeed - I was surprised to find myself able to get through it.