We all know about Harvard, right? It’s an important school, everyone has heard about it, doctors, lawyers, and a few serial killers come from it, etcetera, etcetera. Typical Ivy League university, right?
Well, sure, if you count the fact that there are books bound in the human flesh there.
There are currently three books that people have found with human hide in Harvard: one about medieval law, another about Roman poetry, and the other one’s about French philosophy.
According to The Harvard Crimson,
‘The book’s 794th and final page includes an inscription in purple cursive: “the bynding of this booke is all that remains of my dear friende Jonas Wright, who was flayed alive by the Wavuma on the Fourth Day of August, 1632. King Mbesa did give me the book, it being one of poore Jonas chiefe possessions, together with ample of his skin to bynd it. Requiescat in pace.”
This practice, called Anthropodermic bibliopegy, dates back to around the 1600s. In fact, even some erotica, Marquis de Sade’s Justine et Juliette is bound in skin such as from the female breast.
Harvard isn’t the only prominent university to have books such as these: there are three that have been found in Brown University, and the Mutter Museum of medical oddities in Philadelphis has an entire collection of 19th century doctor Joseph Leidy’s skinbound books.