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Subject: Human skin bindings

Human skin bindings

From: Drew Bourn <andrew.bourn>
Date: Monday, July 24, 2006
We have in our collection a 1597 French print of Ovid's
Metamorphoses that is bound in human skin.

As part of a preservation and conservation summer course that I am
enrolled in at Simmons College, my instructor, Martha Mahard,
encouraged me to develop a report on conservation techniques for
books bound in human skin.

I have searched the archives of both this listserv and the ExLibris
listserv as well as done a literature review of the subject and
contacted archivists/librarians whose collections I have known to
include similar items.

In spite of all of these attempts, I still have yet to find the
information that I am looking for. Although there is a small body of
literature (both popular and academic) on the subject of
anthropodermic bibliopegy, this is not what I am looking for.
Instead, I am searching specifically for information about
current/best practices for conservation of such items.

Without meaning to sound too grisly, I would be interested in
knowing whether such items should be treated the same as (other)
leather bindings, or if there are special considerations for this
type of material.

    **** Moderator's comments: This subject has been discussed in
    ExLibris. See the Exlibris archives in CoOL:
        http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byform/mailing-lists/exlibris/

Drew Bourn
Assistant reference librarian
Center for the History of Medicine
Countway Library
Harvard Medical School


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Received on Monday, 24 July, 2006

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