Harvard Library patrons will no longer be able to check-out a book covered with human skin.

Yes, real human skin.

Why Did Harvard Have A Book Covered In Human Skin?

The copy of Des destinées del'âme by Arsène Houssaye dates back to the 1880s. According to Harvard Library, the volume's first owner was a French physician who "bound the book with skin he took without consent from the body of a deceased female patient in a hospital where he worked."

Harvard Library has carried the book since 1934.

If you're wondering why someone would cover the book in human skin, the physician apparently left a note explaining what he thought made perfect sense.

CBS News reported the handwritten note from the physician states "a book about the human soul deserved to have a human covering."

What Finally Made Harvard Library Remove The Human Skin

The human skin-bound book became somewhat of a novelty among students and those working at the library. A press release from Harvard Library noted that "decades ago" students were "hazed" by being made to retrieve the book only later to learn it was bound by human skin.

The university decided to dig a little deeper into the book's origin in 2014. A scientific analysis confirmed the material on the book was without a doubt human skin.

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After a few years of back-and-forth, a committee finally said the skin needed to be shed from the book concluding "the human remains used in the book's binding no longer belong in the Harvard Library collections, due to the ethically fraught nature of the book's origins and subsequent history."

The library also issued a public apology to anyone affected by its past choice to have the human skin-bound book readily available to patrons.

Harvard University is currently working with others to "determine a final respectful disposition of these human remains."

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