The Public Domain Review

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“O, Excellent Air Bag”: Humphry Davy and Nitrous Oxide

Wednesday 6 August 2014 at 18:53

The summer of 1799 saw a new fad take hold in one remarkable circle of British society: the inhalation of "Laughing Gas". The overseer and pioneer of these experiments was a young Humphry Davy, future President of the Royal Society. Mike Jay explores how Davy's extreme and near-fatal regime of self-experimentation with the gas not only marked a new era in the history of science but a turn toward the philosophical and literary romanticism of the century to come.


Cabinet Card Photographs from the Harvard Theatre Collection

Tuesday 5 August 2014 at 16:16

HOUGHTON LIBRARY, HARVARD UNIVERISTY - John Overholt shines a spotlight on a few examples from the eclectic lot of cabinet card photographs found in the Harvard Theatre Collection, a series of images which are currently making their way onto Wikimedia Commons courtesy of the Wikipedian in Residence scheme.


Made in the Trenches: a WW1 Magazine Created by Soldiers (1916)

Thursday 31 July 2014 at 18:14

A magazine-style book created in 1916 and composed entirely of articles and sketches contributed by British soldiers fighting on the front lines - an eclectic mix of stories, poems, cartoons and, littered at regular intervals throughout, a comic series of encyclopaedic entries for military terms.


Adriaen Coenen’s Fish Book (1580)

Tuesday 29 July 2014 at 17:25

Selected double-page spreads from Adriaen Coenen's exquisite Visboek (Fish Book), an epic 800 page tome on all things fish and fish-related. Coenen began work on this unique book in 1577, at the age of 63, and in three years gathered an unprecedented amount of information on the sea and its coasts, coastal waters, fishing grounds and marine animals.


John Wanamaker recounts a Leo Tolstoy anecdote (1908)

Thursday 24 July 2014 at 15:54

Recording of the U.S. merchant, religious leader, and politician, John Wanamaker, recounting an anecdote of Leo Tolstoy, the man he banned as U.S. Postmaster General 18 years prior.


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Wednesday 23 July 2014 at 13:12

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The Tale of Beatrix Potter

Wednesday 23 July 2014 at 13:06

This year, the works of one of the most successful and universal writers of all time came into the public domain in many countries around the world. The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck - in all, thirty-three books bearing the name Beatrix Potter have sold close to 200 million copies. Frank Delaney enquires into the more complex woman behind the safe and warm-hearted stories.


High Frequency Electric Currents in Medicine and Dentistry (1910)

Tuesday 22 July 2014 at 18:51

A selection of images from High Frequency Electric Currents in Medicine and Dentistry (1910) by champion of electro-therapeutics Samuel Howard Monell who claimed his high frequency currents of electricity could treat a variety of ailments, including acne, lesions, insomnia, abnormal blood pressure, depression, and hysteria.


Dame Talkative’s Old Sayings (ca.1824)

Thursday 17 July 2014 at 15:16

A book of wonderfully illustrated rhymes which, although they appear to be for children, often veer into the world of more adult themes.


Japanese Prints of Western Inventors, Artists and Scholars (1873)

Wednesday 16 July 2014 at 12:19

A set of Japanese prints depicting famous Western inventors and scholars - including Audubon, Carlyle, Watt, and Arkright - beset by various difficulties.