It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Works in the Public Domain are free of copyright protection. This includes works published during or before 1924, most work created by the government, and some works created between 1922 and 1978. Many online resources provide access to public domain materials that can be reused and adapted. We are happy to assist you in identifying public domain resources.
A Word of Caution
Not always as clear as you might think! Aristotle: one would logically think that his writing is public domain. BUT, Aristotle did not write in English. Someone translated, edited, and compiled selections (usually with commentary), and published. That published work is likely covered by copyright. This applies to many “historical” works. Care should be taken to identify these works which are free of intellectual property protection.
Use the list below to discover works in the public domain. Remember that though a work may be available for free online, it may still be protected by copyright. Responsibility rests on you as the user to assess whether a work can be used and transformed.
All of the materials found through DPLA—photographs, books, maps, news footage, oral histories, personal letters, museum objects, artwork, government documents, and so much more—are free and immediately available in digital format.
The Vanderbilt University Institutional Repository (VUIR) provides open access to faculty scholarly work, preserves historically significant digital materials, and supports the university in scholarly communications and the dissemination of knowledge.
VU Libraries ResearchGuides is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. You may republish or adapt this guide for educational purposes, as long as proper credit is given. Our recommended credit includes the statement: Written by, or adapted from, Vanderbilt University Libraries (current as of .....). If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.