The Public Domain Review

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The History of the Ordinary

Tuesday 7 January 2014 at 15:27

CURATOR’S CHOICE #7: LAURA BANG & RUTH MARTIN FROM VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND DIGITAL LIBRARY Laura Bang, curatorial assistant at Villanova University’s Special Collections and Digital Library, and Ruth Martin, Digital Library intern, explore an early 20th-century scrapbook put together by Company 62 of the New York City Fire Department. When most people think of the collections in museums, archives, and research libraries, they think of the grand collections — the papers of famous people, the documents of important events, the artifacts of significant artistic movements or time periods. However, much of history happens between big events, to ordinary people. Often these quotidian histories are overlooked. The Special Collections of Villanova University’s Falvey Memorial Library has its share of impressive holdings — one of the first things that most visitors notice upon entering the Rare Book Room is a Union Army frock coat that was worn by General William Tecumseh Sherman and the Library is well-known for the Joseph McGarrity Collection, which consists of books and personal papers relating to Irish and Irish-American history. Alongside the books and artifacts made remarkable by the famous names connected with them, however, we also have a good collection of items that document […]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2014/01/07/the-history-of-the-ordinary/


Letters to my sister of our experiences on our first trip to Europe, 1913

Sunday 29 December 2013 at 12:05

Letters to my sister of our experiences on our first trip to Europe 1913, by Lilian McCarron; publishing date most likely 1914, publisher unknown. A book of letters written by (the American or perhaps Canadian) Lilian McCarron to her sister detailing a trip she made around Europe in the latter half of 1913. A year later and Europe would be plunged into the beginnings of the First World War which would last 4 years and claim the lives of more than 9 million soldiers and devastate the lands on which it was played out. A certain sense of dramatic irony permeates the diary entries now, in which she describes the “pleasant” and “charming” cities of France and Germany, knowing as we do the horrors that would come in the following years. McCarron spends a large proportion of the trip in Germany, and in particular Berlin, arriving there only a few days after a military airship (a Zeppelin, the kind which would be instrumental in WW1) had crashed killing many experienced German Navy personnel. Her trip also coincided with the Empress’s birthday which saw much of the army on the streets, a sight which gave McCarron the impression that Berlin was […]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2013/12/29/letters-to-my-sister-of-our-experiences-on-our-first-trip-to-europe-1913/


Stereoscopic Victorian Christmas GIFs

Sunday 22 December 2013 at 19:48

A series of animated GIFs made from Victorian christmas stereographs found in the Library of Congress.

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2013/12/22/stereoscopic-victorian-christmas-gifs/


The British Library’s “Mechanical Curator” million

Thursday 19 December 2013 at 15:47

Last week the ever-incredible British Library announced that they were gifting more than 1 million images to the world, uploaded to Flickr Commons under the public domain mark, meaning complete freedom of re-use. The range and breadth of images is phenomenal. As they say in their post announcing the release the “images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of”. Each image was extracted from its respective home (books making up a total of 65,000 already digitised volumes) by a program known as the ‘Mechanical Curator’, a creation of the British Library Labs project. A crowdsourcing application is being launched in the new year (likely using tools developed by our very own Open Knowledge Foundation!) to help describe what the images portray – and the British Library is also putting out a general plea for people to innovate new ways to navigate, find and display this incredible array of images. (Email BL Labs here). Although, of course, it will one day be wonderful to be able to sort and filter these images into […]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2013/12/19/the-british-librarys-mechanical-curator-million/


Hand coloured photographs of 19th century Japan

Tuesday 17 December 2013 at 17:06

A selection from a series of 42 hand coloured albumine prints – a process which used the albumen found in egg whites to bind the photographic chemicals to the paper – taken around 1880. The presence of the pictures in the Dutch National Archieff reflects a long relationship between Japan and the Netherlands, the result of an exclusive commercial relationship that would last for more than two centuries (1641-1855). Housed at: Flickr: The Commons | From: Nationaal Archieff Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights Download: Right click on image or see source for higher res versions The following pictures from the collections of the Library of Congress are by the Italian–British photographer Felice Beato (probably also the creator of the images above), one of the first people to take photographs in East Asia and one of the first war photographers. Library of Congress Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights Download: Right click on image or see source for higher res versions HELP TO KEEP US AFLOAT The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project and we rely on support from our readers to stay afloat. If you like what we do then […]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2013/12/17/19th-century-hand-coloured-photos-of-japan/


Edward Lear’s Walk on a Windy Day (1860)

Thursday 12 December 2013 at 15:23

An Edward Lear story concerning a man, referred to simply as E.L., taking the grave risk of going out for a walk on a windy day and living the consequences. These ten rare sketches are in a bound edition living in the Frederick R. Koch Collection at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in Yale University. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights Download: Right click on image or see source for higher res versions HELP TO KEEP US AFLOAT The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project and we rely on support from our readers to stay afloat. If you like what we do then please do consider making a donation. We welcome all contributions, big or small - everything helps! Become a Patron Small angel : £3.00 GBP - monthly Medium sized hero : £5.00 GBP - monthly Large emperor : £10.00 GBP - monthly Vast deity : £20.00 GBP - monthly Make a one off Donation SIGN UP TO THE NEWSLETTER Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most […]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2013/12/12/edward-lears-walk-on-a-windy-day-1860/


Encounter at the crossroads of Europe – the fellowship of Zweig and Verhaeren

Wednesday 11 December 2013 at 15:36

Stefan Zweig, whose works passed into the public domain this year in many countries around the world, was one of the most famous writers of the 1920s and 30s. Will Stone explores the importance of the Austrian's early friendship with the oft overlooked Belgian poet Emile Verhaeren.

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2013/12/11/encounter-at-the-crossroads-of-europe-the-fellowship-of-zweig-and-verhaeren/


Class of 2014

Tuesday 10 December 2013 at 13:17

Our top pick of people whose works will, on 1st January 2014, be entering the public domain in those countries with a 'life plus 70 years' copyright term, including Beatrix Potter, Nikola Tesla and Fats Waller.

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2013/12/10/class-of-2014/


Account of a Very Remarkable Young Musician (1769)

Thursday 5 December 2013 at 17:39

Account of a Very Remarkable Young Musician. In a Letter from the Honourable Daines Barrington, F. R. S. to Mathew Maty, M. D. Sec. R. S.; 1770; Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of history’s most famous composers, began showing his talents when he was just 3 years old. By the age of 6 he was touring with his father and elder sister, also a talented musician. It was the young Mozart however who wowed the audiences. After a concert at the court of the Prince-elector Maximilian III of Bavaria in Munich, and at the Imperial Court in Vienna and Prague, the Mozart family embarked on a 3 and half year concert tour around the courts of Munich, Mannheim, Paris, London, The Hague, again to Paris, and back home via Zurich, Donaueschingen, and Munich. While in London, an 8 year old Mozart proved a huge sensation. But with his child prodigy status came questions from a skeptical few. Was he really so young? Was he really that talented? One person eager to test the truth of these doubts was Daines Barrington, a lawyer, antiquary, naturalist and Friend of the Royal Society. In a few visits […]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2013/12/05/account-of-a-very-remarkable-young-musician-1769/


Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type and Borders (1874)

Wednesday 4 December 2013 at 17:41

Some select pages from the exquisite Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, Etc. (1874), a specimen book produced by the William H. Page wood type company. Chromatic types, which were made to print in two or more colours, were first produced as wood type by Edwin Allen, and shown by George Nesbitt in his 1841 Fourth Specimen of Machinery Cut Wood Type. It is William H Page’s book, however, that is considered to be the highpoint of chromatic wood type production. As well as providing over 100 pages of brilliantly coloured type, the book can also be seen, at times, to act as some sort of accidental experimental poetry volume, with such strange snippets as “Geographical excursion knives home” and “Numerous stolen mind” adorning its pages. One wonders whether the decisions about what words to feature and in what order were entirely arbitrary. Thanks to the wonderful Bibliodyssey blog where we came across the book: visit the post there for more info on the book and a great list of related links. Housed at: Internet Archive | From: Columbia University Libraries Found via: Bibliodyssey Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights Download: Right click on image or […]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2013/12/04/specimens-of-chromatic-wood-type-and-borders-1874/