The Library's Most Dangerous Book

Photo of warning sign.
Photo by Frédéric BISSON courtesy of Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

Back in 2012, the Ann Arbor Chronicle presented the interesting story of the U-M Library's most dangerous book, Shadows from the Walls of Death.

According to the article:

“Shadows from the Walls of Death” is dangerous not in the sense of a book containing radical ideas. Nor is it dangerous in the way a bomb-building manual might be. In fact, after the title page and preface, the following 86 pages, each one measuring about 22 by 30 inches, contain no printed words at all. ... “Shadows” is saturated with a deadly amount of arsenic.

The book was created as part of an effort to rid the state of wallpaper saturated with the toxic element.

[U-M alumnus Robert] Kedzie’s public health campaign was reported to have poisoned one lady who examined the book, but it otherwise effectively publicized the dangers of living in a house papered in arsenic. 

Read the full article on the Chronicle's website.