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Oct. 20, 2020

Dark Archives Book Launch with Megan Rosenbloom

A fascinating, terrifying look at the rarest books―bound in human skin―and the stories of their creation.

Join us for the book launch of Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation into the Science & History of Books Bound in Human Skin featuring Author Megan Rosenbloom. This virtual presentation will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Anna Dhody, Mütter Museum Co-Director and Curator, in addition to a special show & tell featuring books mentioned in Dark Archives.

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About the Book:

There are books out there, some shelved unwittingly next to ordinary texts, that are bound in human skin. Would you know one if you held it in your hand? In Dark Archives: A Librarian's Investigation into the Science & History of Books Bound in Human Skin, Megan Rosenbloom, a medical librarian and a cofounder of the Death Salon, seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind anthropodermic bibliopegy. Dozens of these books still sit on the shelves of the world’s most famous libraries and museums. What are their stories?

Dark Archives exhumes their origins and brings to life the doctors, murderers, women, and indigents whose lives are bound together in this rare, scattered, and disquieting collection. It also tells the story of the scientists, curators, and librarians like Rosenbloom--interested in the full complicated histories behind these dark artifacts of nineteenth-century medicine--are developing tests to discover these books and sorting through the ethics of custodianship.

A whip-smart and witty writer, Rosenbloom has crafted a narrative that is equal parts detective work, academic intrigue, history, and medical curiosity. Thrilling, captivating, and macabre in all the right ways, Dark Archives encourages us to take another look at the very serious ways in which the powerful have objectified people over time--perfect for fans of Mary Roach, Lindsey Fitzharris, and the art of collecting.

About the Author:

Megan Rosenbloom is a librarian with a research interest in the history of medicine and rare books. Now Collection Strategies Librarian at UCLA Library in Los Angeles, she was previously a medical librarian and before that, a journalist. 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 a member of the Anthropodermic Book Project, a multi-disciplinary team scientifically testing alleged human skin books around the world to verify their human origin. She is also the co-founder and director of the Death Salon, the event arm of the Order of the Good Death, and is a leader in the Death Positive movement. 

Please note:

The Mütter Museum helps the public appreciate the mysteries and beauty of the human body while understanding the history of diagnosis and treatment of disease.

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