Special Collections holds the only known copy of Shadows from the Walls
of Death; Facts and Inferences prefacing a Book of Specimens of Aresenical
Wall Papers (Lansing, 1874) by Professor Robert C. Kedzie, a physician
turned chemistry professor who for many years taught at Michigan Agricultural
College. Appointed to the first State Board of Health for Michigan, Kedzie
wrote of the deaths that resulted from wall paper tinted with arsenic
(Paris green). The color gradually dusted off the walls, and one who
lived in the house so papered might absorb enough to cause death. Kedzie
cut up 80 rolls of wall paper containing the deadly arsenic-green and
produced 100 copies for distribution to state libraries along with his
scientific conclusions. Before long the use of arsenic to produce the
greens in wall paper disappeared.
The copy in Special collections has been conserved and the wall paper
specimens encapsulated to protect staff and patrons.