The Public Domain Review

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American Grammar: Diagraming Sentences in the 19th Century

Wednesday 19 June 2024 at 19:20

A pre-history of the sentence diagrams that were once commonplace in the American classroom.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/diagramming-sentences-in-the-19th-century


Raffaele Mainella’s Illustrations for Nos Invisibles (1907)

Tuesday 18 June 2024 at 15:14

Ethereal illustrations for a book that charts the voices of Balzac, Zola, Flaubert, and other illustrious writers and thinkers from beyond the grave.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/nos-invisibles


From Fire Hazards to Family Trees: The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

Wednesday 12 June 2024 at 16:33

Created for US insurance firms during a period of devastating fires across the 19th and 20th centuries, the Sanborn maps blaze with detail — shops, homes, churches, brothels, and opium dens were equally noted by the company’s cartographers. Tobiah Black explores the history and afterlife of these maps, which have been reclaimed by historians and genealogists seeking proof of the vanished past.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/essay/sanborn-fire-insurance-maps


Looking Backward: Images of Rückenfiguren (ca. 1497–1925)

Tuesday 11 June 2024 at 19:01

Spanning half a millennium, these images feature a perspective that art historians call the Rückenfigur — a focus on the human back.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/ruckenfigur


Programming Prayer: The Woven Book of Hours (1886–87)

Thursday 6 June 2024 at 16:12

An illuminated prayer book woven on mechanical looms programmed by punch card.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/lyon-woven-prayer-book


The Launch of Our Mid-Year Fundraiser!

Wednesday 5 June 2024 at 19:34

Our Mid-Year Fundraiser is launched, and the new postcards theme will be Heat.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/blog/2024/06/launch-of-mid-year-fundraiser-june-24


The Lens of Desire: Eye Miniatures (ca. 1790–1810)

Wednesday 5 June 2024 at 14:31

Small paintings of eyes that were gifted between lovers in England.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/eye-miniatures


“Chinese Arabesques” by Jean-Baptiste Pillement and Anne Allen (ca. 1790–99)

Wednesday 29 May 2024 at 16:28

Rococo designs that picture China as a utopian world of pleasure and caprice.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/chinese-arabesques


“You Are My Friend”: Early Androids and Artificial Speech

Wednesday 29 May 2024 at 16:27

Centuries before audio deepfakes and text-to-speech software, inventors in the eighteenth century constructed androids with swelling lungs, flexible lips, and moving tongues to simulate human speech. Jessica Riskin explores the history of such talking heads, from their origins in musical automata to inventors’ quixotic attempts to make machines pronounce words, converse, and declare their love.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/essay/early-androids-and-artificial-speech


“On This Desolate Island”: Sodomy Punish’d (1726)

Tuesday 28 May 2024 at 22:52

A diary kept by a Dutch sailor abandoned on Ascension Island as punishment for having a relationship with another man.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/sodomy-punished