The Lighter Side of BiblioPhilly: SkullSmackdown!

It all started about this time last year, when Bibliophilly cataloger Erin Connelly began tweeting out gloomy images from the Office of the Dead sections of Books of Hours during Advent. (PACSCL amanuensis objected vehemently when so many lovely Nativity images could have been used instead.)

Fast forward to late summer this year, and BiblioPhilly cataloger Diane Biunno also posted some images of the dead. Someone suggested a scorekeeping contest — and #skullsmackdown was on.

Lewis E 206, f. 89r -- Erin Connelly's favorite skull. Now online in high resolution here: http://openn.library.upenn.edu/Data/0023/html/lewis_e_206.html
Lewis E 206, f. 89r — Erin Connelly’s favorite skull. Now online in high resolution here: http://openn.library.upenn.edu/Data/0023/html/lewis_e_206.html

With PACSCL amanuensis keeping score based on total number of skulls, Biunno gained an early lead with this image containing a mind-boggling 22 skulls. Although the two catalogers were very close in number of images found (Biunno 9, Connelly 7), the multiple-skull image placed Biunno firmly in the lead, a position she maintained until the end of the SkullSmackdown contest (October 31, 2017).

The 22-skull entry. Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E 86 113r
The 22-skull entry. Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E 86 113r

At a modest Day of the Dead celebration at the Free Library of Philadelphia, Biunno received her trophy — a colorful ceramic skull planter with succulent plant. The contestants and co-principal investigator Janine Pollock, then enjoyed skull-themed treats.

SkullSmackdown contestants Diane Biunno (l.) and Erin Connelly, with array of Day-of-the-Dead themed treats. width=
SkullSmackdown contestants Diane Biunno (l.) and Erin Connelly, with array of Day-of-the-Dead themed treats.

SkullSmackdown winner tries and fails to keep a straight face while striking an "Alas, poor Yorick" pose with her trophy.
SkullSmackdown winner Diane Biunno tries and fails to keep a straight face while striking an “Alas, poor Yorick” pose with her trophy.

View the tweets tagged with #skullsmackdown here: https://twitter.com/search?f=tweets&vertical=default&q=%23skullsmackdown&src=typd

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