New York Public Library released a massive online treasure this week, a collection of over 187,000 large images all avaialable now in the public domain. That means you can download them and use them however you like, and the library is encouraging you to be creative. They’re asking folks to remix the images: the library has dozens of suggestions for how you can do that, from designing your own fabric to making GIFs and more. They’re also asking people to share images with the hashtag #nyplremix.
The collection includes over 42,000 stereoscopic views, nearly 18,000 restaurant menus, plus thousands of maps, engravings, prints, sheet music, postcards, Japanese scrolls and more. The online collection went live this week, and it can be searched by century, collection, genre, and even color. You could spend days just looking at everything.
If the idea of remixing images really excites you, you can apply for NYPL’s first-ever remix residency this spring.
Here’s just some of the materials you could work with…
There’s a collection of old-timey magic posters.
There are photos of life in old New York, like this 1935 scene at an Automat.
And scenes of the rural south taken by the Farm Security Administration during World War II.
There are hundreds of postcards published by the Detroit Publishing Company. This is Detroit’s Belle Isle park.
There’s illustrations of Indian zoology.
There’s illustrations of tropical birds.
And French flowers.
There’s the Ellis Island portraits of Lewis Hine, who photographed newly arrived immigrants and later documented child labor practices.
There’s a collection of nineteenth century hotel restaurant menus. You don’t see parsley listed as an omelet filling anymore. Or jelly, for that matter.
There’s a collection of over 42,000 stereoscopic photographs, side-by-side photographs from the late nineteenth century that people saw through a viewfinder for a primitive sort of 3-D effect.
There’s even a collection of cyanotype photographs of British algae. They’re oddly very beautiful.