The Public Domain Review

This is just an automatic copy of Public Domain Review blog.

Dool-Hoff: A Dutch Maze with New Jerusalem at its Centre (1705)

Tuesday 21 February 2023 at 13:17

This 1705 maze instructs Christians on the possible pathways to New Jerusalem (and dead-ends to be avoided).


Downhill from Here: The Slant Book (1910)

Thursday 16 February 2023 at 10:43

Book shaped like a rhomboid by Peter Newell, which tells the story of a runaway baby stroller's downhill journey.


Levi Walter Yaggy’s Geographical Maps and Charts (1887/93)

Wednesday 15 February 2023 at 07:48

Two series of elaborate educational charts, featuring illuminated cutaways and chromolithographic layers, which demonstrate their creator's belief that wonder is the helpmate of learning.


The Emancipatory Visions of a Sex Magician: Paschal Beverly Randolph’s Occult Politics

Wednesday 8 February 2023 at 08:07

Erotic magic, Black emancipation, gender fluidity, interplanetary spirit realms — these were but a few of the topics that preoccupied Paschal Beverly Randolph (b. 1825), an occult thinker who believed that his multiracial identity afforded him “peculiar mental power and marvelous versatility”. Lara Langer Cohen considers the neglected politics of Randolph’s esoteric writings alongside the repeated frustration of his activism: how dreams of other worlds, above and below our own, reflect the unfulfilled promises of Emancipation.


Many-Colored Misdirection: Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom (1909)

Tuesday 7 February 2023 at 12:39

An exposition on camouflage that believes all animal coloration is an attempt to blend in.


A Treatise Concerning the Properties and Effects of Coffee (1792)

Thursday 2 February 2023 at 12:34

Benjamin Moseley's treatise argues the multitude of benefits that come from drinking coffee, when the beverage was still relatively new to Europe.


John H. White’s Photographs of Black Chicago for DOCUMERICA (1973–74)

Wednesday 1 February 2023 at 09:50

As part of the DOCUAMERICA project, which sought to produce a visual record of the 1970s US, John H. White took stunning photographs of Black Chicago.


Introducing PDR Revisited

Wednesday 25 January 2023 at 15:19

We are revisiting older posts in our collection to give them some much needed love.


Illusory Wealth: Victor Dubreuil’s Cryptic Currencies

Wednesday 25 January 2023 at 09:53

After supposedly stealing 500,000 francs from his bank, the mysterious Victor Dubreuil (b. 1842) turned up penniless in the United States and began to paint dazzling trompe l’oeil images of dollar bills. Once associated with counterfeiting and subject to seizures by the Treasury Department, these artworks are evaluated anew by Dorinda Evans, who considers Dubreuil’s unique anti-capitalist visions among the most daring and socially critical of his time.


James Ensor, The Deadly Sins (ca. 1904)

Tuesday 24 January 2023 at 13:14

James Ensor's etchings of the seven deadly sins stage personal grievances and caricatures through grotesque, Christian symbolism.