Autumn Accessions

The Chantry Library recently received two new donations from Jesus College Librarian Owen McKnight.

Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin by Megan Rosenbloom and National Treasures: Saving the Nation’s Art in World War II by Caroline Shenton.

The first has arrived just in time for Halloween with its dark and sinister subject matter! Librarian and journalist, Megan Rosenbloom sets out to explore anthropodermic bibliopegy, the practice of binding books in human skin, looking at the myths behind their creation and the ethics of their custodianship. A single image is printed within the book’s pages and that is the cover of Hans Holbein’s The Dance of Death, a copy from 1898 from Brown University’s John Hay Library. It was chosen for being ‘the most beautiful of the anthropodermic books and the most artfully bound’.

The second new book hitting the Chantry’s shelves this month examines how national treasures, such as the Crown Jewels and Magna Carta, were stashed in hiding places across England and Wales during World War II. It is a fascinating account of the mass relocation by cultural heritage staff of some of the nation’s prized collections during the late summer heatwave of 1939, whereby stately homes, castles, quarries and even prisons were utilised to keep these treasures safe.

Both books are now available to consult in the Chantry Library, please contact the Librarian at to make an appointment.

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