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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Internet Archive - 500 Years Of Book Images You Can Use

The Internet Archive Book Images is a collection of more than 14 million images scanned from books that are in the public domain and spanning over 500 years.  They have just recently been uploaded to Flikr with a Creative Commons license, and are available for all of us to use.  Most of this project is the idea and work of Kalev Leetaru.  You can read more about what this archive covers and how it is being done at the Internet Archive Blog, or in the BBC article Millions of Historical Images Posted To Flickr.  The archive covers a vast variety of images including a huge library of medical books and archives. There is decorative art, including the first picture below.  There are images from accounts of travels, from art books, from books of stories, advertisements, engineering, natural history, all sorts of descriptive and technical texts, a true treasure trove of images.  Each image has a description and source listed with links.

If you need images, these are in the public domain and this is a good place to look The Internet Archive Book Images.

Above is a  decorative graphical flourish added to begin the display below.  There is an enormous variety of decorative art in this collection available to view and to use.


Above is Mrs. Amanda Smith, evangelist and world traveler, in 1893, from an account of her travels and works.  Her travels carried her across England, Scotland, Ireland, India, and Africa.
View Book Page: Book Viewer
About This Book: Catalog Entry
View All Images: All Images From Book
View book online



In Australia, fish hatching boxes on a small stream, hatching Murray cod.  From an 1889 account of boy travelers, "adventures of two youths in a journey to the Sandwich, Marquesas, Society, Samoan and Feejee islands, and through the colonies of New Zealand, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania".
View Book Page: Book Viewer
About This Book: Catalog Entry
View All Images: All Images From Book
View book online


A young woman of Tehuantepec in Mexico from "an account of the customs, characteristics, amusements, history and advancement of the Mexicans, and the development and resources of their country" in 1912.
View Book Page: Book Viewer
About This Book: Catalog Entry
View All Images: All Images From Book
View book online


Illustration of the genus salpa from Johns Hopkins University Biological Laboratory.
View Book Page: Book Viewer
About This Book: Catalog Entry
View All Images: All Images From Book
View book online


Illustration by a Tibetan artist from a story about jackals, a baboon, and a tiger, from a collection of Tibetan folk tales.
View Book Page: Book Viewer
About This Book: Catalog Entry
View All Images: All Images From Book
View book online


Illustration from a book about the birds of the British Isles and their eggs.
View Book Page: Book Viewer
About This Book: Catalog Entry
View All Images: All Images From Book
View book online


Image of a bookshelf from a book by the Pennsylvania-German Society, at the beginning of chapter 5, which discusses schools and educational institutions
View Book Page: Book Viewer
About This Book: Catalog Entry
View All Images: All Images From Book 
View book online

The above images barely scratch the surface of the range, depth, and variety of images available here. Keep in mind this archive includes a vast collection of historical medical texts and illustrations, and everything is in the public domain.  This is a resource just for browsing and entertainment, or to consult if you need images to illustrate some project.  Visit The Internet Archive Book Images.

Nell M.

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