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Subject: Human skin bindings

Human skin bindings

From: Jack C. Thompson <tcl>
Date: Friday, November 22, 1996
Robert R. Bleil <bleil [at] juniata__edu> writes

>I am looking for any information the members of ConsDist List can provide
>on the practice of binding books in human skin.

There is some information about this subject in Lawrence S.
Thompson's work (no relation, nor D.V. Thompson, more's the pity):

    Bibliopegia Fantastica
    New York, New York Public Library, 1947

    Religatum de Pelle Humana
    Lexington, KY, Univ. of Kentucky Libraries, 1949 and

    Bibliogia Comica or Humorous Aspects of the Caparisoning and
    Conservation of Books
    New York, Archon Books, 1968.

Dard Hunter, in

    My Life With Paper
    New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1958

describes a binding which he designed while working for Elbert
Hubbard at the Roycrofter's, which was bound in human skin.

Religatum... has the best bibliography.

Having been called upon a number of times to confirm (or refute) an
anthropodermic binding, I am in the habit of taking along a
magnifying glass.  If the grain is present it is an easy matter;
folicle patterns are unique.  Look at the back of your hand under
the magnifying glass and then look at the binding.  If the folicle
pattern is the same, the binding is of human skin.

In over 20 years I have confirmed human skin 2 times; it is not as
common as may be thought.

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Lab
Portland, OR

                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:50
                 Distributed: Monday, November 25, 1996
                       Message Id: cdl-10-50-004
Received on Friday, 22 November, 1996

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