Tag Archives: Public domain

Curator Ponders Emily Dickinson’s Eclectic Paper Choices

Emily Dickinson, like many writers scribbled words, phrases and complete poems on a wide variety of papers. In The Manuscripts of Emily Dickinson at The Public Domain review, curator Mike Kelly considers some of the items in the collection at Archives and Special Collections of Amherst College, and wonders if the media might have inspired the message.

“The way hope builds his house”, Amherst Manuscript # 450

“In this instance, Dickinson has cut apart an envelope so all that remains are the flap and a portion of the body. She orients the paper so the point of the flap is at the top then she fills that peak with words: “The way hope builds his house…” Or, to phrase it more directly, she writes a poem about a house on a piece of paper that looks like a house.”

“To be forgot by thee”, Amherst Manuscript # 484

“…it is important to remember that Dickinson was never at a loss for paper, stamps, ink, or pencils. Her father and brother were both lawyers, a profession that depends on ample stores of paper and ink, and many of Dickinson’s extant manuscripts are on standard stationery paper. So when we come across irregular pieces such as this one, one needs to stop and think about her motives…what are we to make of the many…fragments she left behind?”

I imagine Dickinson with a small pencil perched permanently in her hair or on her ear, ready for the instant that inspiration strikes. Too terribly aware that the words must flow as they form in her mind, she did not gamble that they would still be there after scrambling to the writing desk and retrieving stationary, but scribbled them – stream of consciousness – on the nearest media at hand.

How many of those fleeting bursts of creativity have been lost for the lack of a pencil behind our ear?

“This selection of Dickinson manuscripts is merely the tip of the iceberg – all 850 discrete manuscript objects held by Amherst College are freely available online for all to explore. Our hope is that the ability to browse the collection virtually will spark new questions and new approaches to understanding one of the world’s most beloved and enigmatic poets.”

Read Mike Kelly’s full review at The Manuscripts of Emily Dickinson at the Public Domain Review.

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Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, Poetry

Shockingly Delightful (from 1908)

The Hole Book, by Peter Newell; 1908; Harper & Brothers, New York.

Click on the image to read the whole book at the Internet Archive.

“While fooling with a gun, Tom Potts shoots a bullet that seems to be unstoppable. A literal hole on each page traces the bullet’s path as it wreaks havoc across various scenes until it meets its match in a particularly sturdy cake. A native of McDonough County, Illinois, Newell built a reputation in the 1880s and 1890s for his humorous drawings and poems, which appeared in Harper’s Weekly, Harper’s Bazaar, Scribner’s Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, Judge, and other publications. He later wrote and illustrated several popular children’s books, such as Topsys and Turvys (1893), a collection of poems and images which could be viewed upside-down or right-side-up; The Hole Book (1908), featured above; and The Slant Book (1910), which took the shape of a rhomboid and told the story of a baby carriage careening down a hill.” (Wikipedia)

I am so grateful that the Internet and places like the site noted below make these treasures available for everyone to share.

Via The Public Domain Review

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Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, History of Books & Libraries

Read Tolstoy’s Fables for Children

Click to read book

As well as writing such lengthy literary classics as Anna Karenina and War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy turned his hand to writing stories for younger readers. Most of the works in the collection above, translated here by Leo Wiener, had their seed in primers which Tolstoy wrote for the school which he established in 1849 for peasant children at his country estate, Yasnaya Polyana (Clear Glades). In the huge variety of tales – through a host of kings, hermits, peasants and talking animals – he expounds his clear vision for a more human and socially just society.” The Public Domain Review

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Jack and Jill Were Naughtier than We Knew

Click to read the whole book

Jack and Jill and old Dame Gill, author/illustrator unknown; 1806; J. Aldis, London.

“Extended version of the famous nursery rhyme in which, in addition to fetching some water, Jack and Jill get into various scrapes with animals, swings, see-saws, and the ever-chastising Old Dame Gill. The illustrator goes uncredited in the book, though the back page is dedicated to a special rhyme advertising the booksellers/publishers J.Aldis: “Dame Gill had been to Aldis / To buy them all books / You may see how they are pleased / by the smiles in their looks / Now if you are good and deserving regard / This book full of pictures shall be your reward.”

From The Public Domain Review


Filed under History of Books & Libraries

Sunday Batch – Open Source Resources


The Digital Comic Museum archives ‘Golden Age’ comics that are in the public domain.

Google Books has a collection of old books and magazines. When you search, use the “full view” option to find materials that you can read and download in their entirety. You might also want to use the “date range” option to narrow your search to a specific range of publication dates.

The Gutenberg Project has also digitized many copyright-expired books and provides them in various formats for download or screen-reading. Because copyright laws vary different sites exist for Canada, US, UK and other countries.


The David Rumsey Map Collection is a collection of more than 20,000 historical maps documenting places throughout the world. The maps can be searched by area, by time period, or by cartographer. The David Rumsey Map Collection is also available as a Google Earth layer.

~ copied from Free Tech for Teachers


The Commons on Flickr (Previous post) is a good resource for students in need of images for multimedia projects for history, literature, and other content areas. A requirement of contributors to The Commons is that all images are made available without copyright restrictions. Here is a list of institutions contributing to The Commons.

Any search on Flickr can be modified to include only images that are sharable by using the Advanced Search and clicking on “Only Search within Creative Commons Content”.

By Phil Moore on Flickr

Gimp Savvy Copyright-Free Photo Archive – from three main sources: the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).


The DHD Multimedia Gallery has a collection of images, music, sounds, etc.

Browse the Wikimedia Commons by topic, location, type, author, license or source for images, sounds and videos.

Mashable has a good post here with descriptions of 26 sources for free multimedia.

Clip Art and Historical Comic Strips

There is no registration required (Yay!) at PD Clipart – a very large collection of public domain clipart.

Another large collection at the Open Clip Art Library also permits image editing.

The Comic Strip Library is an archive of stips predating 1923.

Your Places

If you know of other, especially better resources in the public domain, please share.

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Filed under Online Resources