02-11-2015, 08:16 PM
: ʔ 1863
ɡ 86 .

02-11-2015, 09:27 PM
Another arsenical wallpaper from "Shadows."

Ypsilanti druggist Frank Smith sold Paris Green and wallpapers that like as not were impregnated with arsenic, as seen in this 1878 ad

A second-floor ****f of University of Michigans Buhr book storage facility contains Michigans single most dangerous book.

One of the arsenical wallpapers in "Shadows".
It is one of only two known copies to exist in the state. If not for its historical importance, even the most fervent bibliophile might agree: the fewer copies in the world the better.

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.

Michigan State University holds the other copy of Shadows in its Special Collections library division. The volume is sealed in a protective container, and each page is individually encapsulated.

Prospective readers of Shadows at the Buhr building must wear blue plastic protective gloves. During a visit to the Buhr some days ago, the book was wheeled out slowly on its individual cart. The marbled pattern on the cover showed through a protective thick-gauge plastic bag.

I held my breath as I gingerly eased open the cover, and while reading the pages I was careful to avoid any skin contact. Shadows is saturated with a deadly amount of arsenic.

UM alum Robert Kedzie created Shadows from the Walls of Death. After receiving his degree with the medical schools first graduating class, in 1851, Kedzie established a medical practice in Kalamazoo and later Eaton Countys Vermontville. He left his practice, along with his wife and three sons, to serve as a Civil War surgeon with Michigans 12th Regiment. Kedzie was captured and imprisoned at Shiloh, but paroled.

In 1863 he returned to Michigan to chair Michigan Agricultural Colleges (MSUs) chemistry department. Some three decades later, Kedzie imported 1,700 pounds of beet seeds from Europe in a campaign to assess the suitability of Michigan soil for sugar beet production. The seed was sent to 400 Lower Peninsula farmers. Of those, 228 responded and mailed beets back to Lansing for analysis. They were found to contain 14% sugar. Michigans beet sugar industry was born.

Before donning the mantle of Father of the Michigan Beet Sugar Industry, Kedzie was elected to serve with the states board of health when it formed in 1873. He chaired the committee on Poisons, Special Sources of Danger to Life and Health, &c. Kedzie wasted no time in reporting his chief concern in an essay, Poisonous Papers, included in the Board of Healths inaugural 1874 report.
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Another arsenical wallpaper from "Shadows."

Pretty green stars conceal a lethal secret.