Does Harvard have any books bound in human skin?

I have heard that Harvard Libraries have books bound in human skin (Anthropodermic binding). Is that true? Where can I find them?

Yes, we do have books believed to be bound in human skin.

There are three anthropodermic books that have been suspected at Harvard. For more information, please see this blog post from the Houghton Library and this article from the Harvard Crimson. 

Houghton Library's copy of Des destinées de l’ame is temporarily unavailable for teaching and research pending review by the Human Remains in the Harvard Museum Collections Research Review Committee. If you wish to be contacted when/if it becomes available to researchers, please email Houghton Library at

One of the three, the volume at the Harvard Law School, has been conclusively proven NOT to be bound in human skin. Please see the Law School Library Blog post for details.


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