The Public Domain Review

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The Brain of Charles Babbage (1909)

Monday 12 November 2012 at 17:06

Plates from a “Description of the Brain of Mr. Charles Babbage, F.R.S” published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London (1909). Credited with inventing the first mechanical computer that eventually led to more complex designs, Charles Babbage is considered to be the “father of the computer”. See the description of the brain here in our Texts collection. (All images taken from the book housed at the Internet Archive, donated by the Royal Society). 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 recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/12/the-brain-of-charles-babbage-1909/


A Description of the Brain of Mr. Charles Babbage (1909)

Monday 12 November 2012 at 15:47

“Description of the Brain of Mr. Charles Babbage, F.R.S”, by V. Horsley in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Containing Papers of a Biological Character (1896-1934); 1909; Royal Society of London. Charles Babbage, (1791–1871) was an English mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer who originated the concept of a programmable computer. Considered the “father of the computer”, Babbage is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer that eventually led to more complex designs. Babbage himself decided that he wanted his brain to be donated to science upon his death. In a letter accompanying the donation, his son Henry wrote: I have no objection…to the idea of preserving the brain…Please therefore do what you consider best…[T]he brain should be known as his, and disposed of in any manner which you consider most conducive to the advancement of human knowledge and the good of the human race. Half of Babbage’s brain is preserved at the Hunterian Museum in the Royal College of Surgeons in London, the other half is on display in the Science Museum in London. See images of Babbage’s brain taken from the last pages of the report here in our Images collection. The book is [...]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/12/a-description-of-the-brain-of-mr-charles-babbage-1909/


First year anniversary of the Berlin Wall (1962)

Friday 9 November 2012 at 18:20

Universal newsreel from 1962 looking at the 1st year anniversary of the Berlin Wall. Download from Internet Archive Note this film is in the public domain in the US, but may not be in other jurisdictions. Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using. 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 recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/09/first-year-anniversary-of-the-berlin-wall-1962/


Plates from Robert Thornton’s Temple of Flora (1807)

Thursday 8 November 2012 at 16:24

“The Temple of Flora” is the third and final part of Robert John Thornton’s New illustration of the sexual system of Carolus von Linnaeus, considered by many to be the greatest of all flower books. It consists of a series of sumptuous depictions of flowers notable for their epic and unusual settings. Interwoven amongst the images are various descriptions, histories and poetic odes regarding the flowers featured. The first plates were engraved by Thomas Medland in May 1798 from paintings by Philip Reinagle. Between 1798 and 1807 they produced a total of thirty-three coloured plates, engraved in aquatint, stipple and line. Others engravers included Joseph Constantine Stadler working from the painting of Peter Charles Henderson. When he planned the project, Thornton had decided to publish seventy folio-size plates. Lack of interest from the general public spelled disaster for the scheme, and the holding of a lottery could not save it from financial ruin, neither did a page in the work dedicated to the spouse of George III, Queen Charlotte, patroness of botany and the fine arts. (Wikipedia) (All images taken from New illustration of the sexual system of Carolus von Linnaeus (1807) housed at the Internet Archive, donated by Missouri [...]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/08/plates-from-robert-thorntons-temple-of-flora-1807/


President Woodrow Wilson’s daughter singing Star Spangled Banner (1915)

Tuesday 6 November 2012 at 16:50

Margaret Woodrow Wilson, the daughter of President at the time Thomas Woodrow Wilson, singing the U.S. national anthem “Star Spangled Banner” in 1915. After her mother’s death in 1914 Margaret served as the First Lady of the United States until her father’s second marriage in 1915. She would go on to make several recordings around 1918. In 1938 she travelled to the ashram of Sri Aurobindo in Pondicherry, India where she chose to stay for the rest of her life. She was later known in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram as ‘Nistha’ (Sanskrit for “sincerity”). In 1942, she and the scholar Joseph Campbell edited the English translation of the classical work on the Hindu mystic, Sri Ramakrishna, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna by Swami Nikhilananda, which was published in 1942. She was to die two years later, 6 years after entering the ashram, of a kidney infection aged 57. (Wikipedia) The lyrics of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” come from “Defence of Fort McHenry”, a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake Bay 200 years ago this year in [...]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/06/president-woodrow-wilsons-daughter-singing-star-spangled-banner-1915/


Manuscript handbook of firework design (1785)

Monday 5 November 2012 at 19:09

Artificial Fireworks, by John Maskall; 1785; (no publisher information). Beautiful hand-written and illustrated treatise on firework design and manufacture, including ‘blue-prints’ for the devices and explosive recipes. The book is housed at the Internet Archive, donated by the Getty Research Institute . 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 recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/05/manuscript-handbook-of-firework-design-1785/


The Calaveras of José Guadalupe Posada

Friday 2 November 2012 at 17:11

José Guadalupe Posada (1851–1913) was a Mexican illustrator known for his satirical and politically acute calaveras. Deriving from the Spanish word for ‘skulls’, these calaveras were illustrations featuring skeletons which would, after Posada’s death, become closely associated with the mexican holiday Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. Most of these calaveras were published by the press of Antonio Vanegas Arroyo which produced inexpensive literature for the lower classes, including thousands of satirical broadsides which Posada illustrated. Through this focus on mortality Vanegas Arroyo and Posada satirised many poignant issues of the day, in particular the details of bourgeois life and the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz. On January 20th 1913, 3 years after the start of the Mexican Revolution, José Guadalupe Posada died at his home in obscurity. He was penniless and buried in an unmarked grave. It was only years later in the 1920s that his work became recognised on a national and international level after it was championed by the French ex-patriot artist Jean Charlot who described Posada as “printmaker to the Mexican people”. (All images taken from the Library of Congress). Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your [...]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/02/the-calaveras-of-jose-guadalupe-posada/


Athanasius, Underground

Thursday 1 November 2012 at 19:10

With his enormous range of scholarly pursuits the 17th century polymath Athanasius Kircher has been hailed as the last Renaissance man and “the master of hundred arts”. John Glassie looks at one of Kircher’s great masterworks Mundus Subterraneus and how it was inspired by a subterranean adventure Kircher himself made into the bowl of Vesuvius. Just before Robert Hooke’s rightly famous microscopic observations of everything from the “Edges of Rasors” to “Vine mites” appeared in Micrographia in 1665, the insatiably curious and incredibly prolific Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher published what is in many ways a more spectacular work. Mundus Subterraneus (Underground World), a two-volume tome of atlas-like dimensions, was intended to lay out “before the eyes of the curious reader all that is rare, exotic, and portentous contained in the fecund womb of Nature.” There is an “idea of the earthly sphere that exists in the divine mind,” Kircher proclaimed, and in this book, one of more than thirty on almost as many subjects that he published during his lifetime, he tried to prove that he had grasped it. As a French writer put it some years later, “it would take a whole journal to indicate everything remarkable in this [...]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/01/athanasius-underground/


Dennison’s Bogie Book for Halloween (1920)

Tuesday 30 October 2012 at 11:07

Dennison’s bogie book, by Dennison manufacturing co.; 1920; Dennison manufacturing co., Framingham, Massachusetts.] Decoration, costume and party suggestions from 1920 for the night of Halloween, that one time (according to the book) “of all the year when an opportunity is supposed to be given for looking into the future and having one’s fate settled for the coming twelve months”. Full of lots of handicraft tips on making that perfect spooky zone, as well as various party games (mostly involving blindfolds and choosing future loves) and a couple of ghost stories to read when midnight strikes. So.. “Why not invite your friends to a Hallowe’en party and join in the fun of trying some of the time-honored ways of finding out what the future holds in store?” The book is housed at the Internet Archive, donated by the Library of Congress. 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 recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/10/30/dennisons-bogie-book-for-halloween-1920/


A Wake in Hell’s Kitchen (1903)

Saturday 27 October 2012 at 15:13

Strange little short from the American Mutoscope & Biograph Co, housed at the Library of Congress. From Biograph picture catalogue, Nov. 1902 [MI], p. 39: This scene is laid in the parlor of a New York tenement. Two watchers at the wake are smoking and drinking, while the widow is weeping over the coffin. The attention of the three is attracted for an instant, and the supposed corpse rises up, drinks all the beer in the pitcher which is standing on a table nearby, and lies down in the coffin again. The mourners return, and seeing that the beer is gone, engage in a controversy over it. During the scrap the corpse jumps out of the coffin and takes part in the melee. Download from Library of Congress Note this film is in the public domain in the US, but may not be in other jurisdictions. Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using. 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 recent collection items. Simply add your details to the form below and click the link you receive via email [...]

Source: http://publicdomainreview.org/2012/10/27/a-wake-in-hells-kitchen-1903/