In Dark Archives, Megan Rosenbloom, a medical librarian and a cofounder of the Death Salon, seeks out the historic and scientific truths behind this anthropodermic bibliopegy. Dozens of these books still sit on the shelves of the world’s most famous libraries and museums. What are their stories? Dark Archives exhumes their origins and brings to life the doctors, murderers, mental patients, beautiful women, and indigents whose lives are bound together in this rare, scattered, and disquieting collection.
It also tells the story of the scientists, curators, and librarians like Rosenbloom – interested in the full complicated histories behind these dark artifacts of nineteenth-century medicine – are developing tests to discover these books and sorting through the ethics of custodianship.