By Rebecca Oviedo
Every year since 2019 we have delighted in reviewing our Distinctive Collections for new titles entering the public domain to scan and bring to you in our Digital Library each new year. For 20 years prior to 2019, new items to the public domain were restricted due to a copyright extension enacted in 1998. Laura Bang wrote an excellent review and round-up of further reading on the blog in December 2019.
This year we’re adding two works that have been included in two of our online exhibits but could not previously be shared in full due to copyright. Alright, well one exhibit is brand new this year, so it didn’t have to wait very long!
Joining nine other titles already in the public domain by Villanova alumnus, poet, and author Thomas Augustine Daly is A Little Book of American Humorous Verse, published in Philadelphia in 1926. Dedicated “to all lovers of the laughing muse,” T.A. Daly has compiled a selection of light verse by American authors ranging from the well-known and enduring Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, to his own friends and contemporaries Christopher Morley, Joyce Kilmer, and of course, himself.
Coming soon is our brand new exhibit, “That Fairyland of Ice”: Polar Exploration in Mind and Memory, which includes Arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson’s 1926 The Adventure of Wrangel Island, from the James Wheeler collection. This copy is inscribed by Stefansson himself to his friend Henry Grier Bryant (1859-1932), a fellow explorer and writer from Philadelphia. Stefansson was a prolific author with 12 other books in the Wheeler collection, many of them also signed copies.
Of course 2022 also brings new additions to our Dime Novel and Popular Literature collection including these newspapers from 1926: a September issue of Chicago’s Blade and Ledger and a May 21st issue of The Cleveland News. Well into Prohibition, catching my eye in this latter issue is an advertisement for Pabst-ett, “the new finer food that’s more than cheese” from Pabst Brewing Company and an article on the front page reporting on the perjury trial of a Broadway theater producer’s “bathtub party” allegedly at which “pretty Joyce Hawley, Broadway model, ‘entirely undressed,’ splashed merrily in a bathtub of bubbling champagne while a score of men drank from the contents of the tub.” !!!
Other major titles freely available this year include A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh and Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. This past December, The Public Domain Review did a festive advent-style calendar in anticipation of new items in the public domain for 2022. Here’s to a new year!
Rebecca Oviedo is Distinctive Collections Librarian/Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.