Virtual In Conversation with Megan Rosenbloom | From the Dark Archives: Books Bound in Human Skin and the New Science of Old Books

Date / Time

  • February 23, 2022
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm



  • This is a FREE virtual program held on Zoom. Please check your spam folder for the Zoom link.
  • If you have questions about registration, please call (215) 732-1600 or email [email protected].
  • Registration opens for Delancey Society members on November 15, for members on November 22, and for the general public on November 29.



Among Philadelphia’s numerous historical distinctions, one of its lesser known secrets is that it is the city with the most human skin books in the world. This macabre bookbinding practice sounds like the stuff of horror movies but was actually perpetrated by well-respected doctors in the 19th century, a practice now known as anthropodermic bibliopegy. Would you know a human skin book if you held one in your hand? Join librarian and author Megan Rosenbloom as she discusses her debut bestselling book, Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation in the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin, and how her interdisciplinary scientific team’s work to prove and disprove claims of anthropodermic books fits into the emerging field of biocodicology – where researchers apply proteomic, genomic, and microgenomic methods to old books to reveal heretofore unimaginable truths hidden in their pages and bindings. 

About the Speaker

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. Megan Rosenbloom co-founded and directed of Death Salon, the event arm of The Order of the Good Death, and is a proponent of the Death Positive movement. She leads 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 bestselling debut book about this practice, titled Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin, was a New York Times Editors Choice and won the 2021 Best Monograph Award from the Librarians, Archivists, and Museum Professionals in the History of the Health Sciences.  Born and raised in Delco, she was a journalist in Philadelphia before moving to Los Angeles and continues to write for both academic and non-academic publications. She was even a docent at the Rosenbach Museum once upon a time. 

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A series of informal, intimate talks given by literary and cultural luminaries, In Conversation With The Rosenbach delves into fascinating histories, intellectual curiosities, and inspiring ideas. Each program offers audience members a chance to join the conversation after the talk and share their own thoughts and questions.

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