Modern History, University of St Andrews
'Reading Behind the Front Lines: British Soldier Reading Experience in the First World War'
Accessible in the library’s Elihu Reading Room, the book, entitled “Practicarum quaestionum circa leges regias…,” looks old but otherwise ordinary.
Delicate, stiff, and with wrinkled edges, the skin’s coloring is a subdued yellow, with sporadic brown and black splotches like an old banana. The skin is not covered in hair or marked by tattoos—except for a “Harvard Law Library” branding on its spine. Nothing about it shouts “human flesh” to the untrained eye.
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.”"
— Remember the good old days when books were, on occasion, bound in human skin? Here is an article on some that Harvard discovered on their library shelves. (via johndonne)
As exhausting as clearing the storage unit is proving to be, I have to admit unpacking the books was fun. It was like a combination of opening wonderful presents and seeing old friends.