On January 10th, 1927 the world gazed upon a startling dystopian version of the future. Fritz Lang‘s landmark sci-fi film Metropolis was released in Germany. Fans of retro-futurism can celebrate the event and watch Lang’s cinematic masterpiece via the Internet Archive. Cost of admission: FREE!
Drop by the Library of Congress and explore its Center for the Book site. Why? The site hosts quite a bit of exciting and free books that are sure to please readers of all ages. Need proof? If so, flip through The Rocket Book (1912) by Peter Sheaf Hersey Newell. Delightful verse and humorous images propel eager readers through a madcap story that as fresh now as it was when it first appeared 102 years ago.
- The kind volunteers at Librivox (free public domain audiobooks) want readers to listen to The Rocket Book.
- The Gutenberg Project has many other books by Peter Newell.
Did you know that January 1st of every year is Public Domain Day? The Duke Law School‘s well-respected Center for the Study of the Public Domain is replete with information legal matters pertinent to intellectual property and the Public Domain.
- The Public Domain Review, a site with a free online journal about intriguing digital versions of out-of-copyright works currently available via the world wide web.
- The Cornell Copyright Information Center houses copyright term information regarding the Public Domain in the United States (for example, types of work and their respective copyright terms).
The images at Old Book Illustrations Scrapbook Blog are a treat to explore. Poring over this collection of vintage illustrations (mostly wood engravings/woodcuts, etchings or metal engravings) taken from books published between the 1700s through the early 1900s, is an exciting endeavor. One of my favorite pastimes is grabbing an illustration, dropping it into an image-editing program and overlaying colors.
A tip of the hat to a captivating catalog of eye-catching characters! Ever on the lookout for old pix to play with, I took a few minutes to drop by the New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery. I wasn’t disappointed. This treasure trove of ephemera provides visitors free and open access to over 800,000 digitized images. I grabbed the original image of the dapper fellow below, dropped it into an image-editing program, and tinkered with various overlay settings.
Wandering around Project Gutenberg when everyone else is asleep is like having an entire library to explore. It’s a guilty pleasure I abandon myself to without the least bit of remorse. The last time I was nosing around, I found Myths of the Norsemen From the Eddas and Sagas (published in 1909) by the noted British historian H. A. Guerber. The book contains stirring accounts of the intrigues among the Norse gods, denizens of a universe they were doomed to destroy in a tragic last battle. Along with stories, readers will delight in fascinating images like the one below: a wondrous depiction of a giant with a flaming sword by John Charles Dollman, an English painter and illustrator.
- Be sure to take a peek at Project Gutenberg’s richly illustrated version of The Story of the Greeks.
- The Online Books Page also has a wonderful collection of links to other examples of Guerber’s works.
- Not to be outdone, the Internet Archive also contains a number of ebooks worthy of exploring.
If you haven’t visited or explored the Internet Archive, Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to start. Grab your significant other, cuddle up, and search the Archive using the term romance. You’ll find quite a few gems–images, audio, and even movies that are now in the public domain. One public domain movie that’s full of laughter and love is the 1936 American screwball comedy My Man Godfrey starring the dashing William Powell and the beautiful Carole Lombard. The film is #44 on the American Film Institute‘s list of the 100 funniest comedies. This cinematic production is a treat and is sure to inspire more than a few hugs and kisses.
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Related Resources: Other ginchy public domain movies to watch with your crush include: