The Public Domain Review is by far one of my favorite things on the internet; this not-for-profit project "dedicated to showcasing the most interesting and unusual out-of-copyright works available online" mines the "rarities and curiosities" of the public domain with richly illustrated articles by a variety of writers, scholars and curators including our own Colin Dickey, co-editor of the upcoming Morbid Anatomy Anthology.
Just to give you a sense of the breadth and quality of their findings--which are especially strong in the areas of the strange and esoteric, the macabre, anatomy, and early science--I have cherry picked a few of my favorite images (see above) drawn only from their current front page stories of the website. Click here to see many, many more, and find out more about their context.
In order to continue operating, the Public Domain Review needs to raise $20,000 by April 30th; as of this writing, they have raised $16,618. Please consider joining me in supporting this beautifully done and highly worthy website by clicking here.
More on the fundraising attempts, from their own words:
With our initial funding now come to an end, we need your support to help us continue our mission – to promote the public domain as an indispensable public good, and to curate and showcase the most interesting out-of-copyright works on the web.
We’ve come a long way since our humble beginnings in 2011. Over the course of our two years we’ve created a large and ever growing archive of some of the most interesting and unusual artefacts in the history of art, literature and ideas – from Gerard Manley Hopkins’s soaring meteorology of volcano sunsets, to 19th century French postcards of the year 2000; from Thomas Browne’s list of imaginary artefacts, to Napoleon’s Book of Fate.
As well as surfacing public domain rarities and curiosities from the world’s archives, we’ve provided a platform for leading writers, scholars and curators to show the things that they love to new audiences. Highlights of the last year include an article by Man Booker prize winner Julian Barnes, copious praise from lots of our favourite people and projects, and mentions in the New York Times, the Huffington Post, the Paris Review and Vice magazine.
But to carry the project on into the future we need money, and so we’re turning to our community of readers for help. With your support we can continue to tell the world about the importance of the public domain, and help to bring its most exquisite and unusual spoils to more people than ever.
How much do we need?
We’ve worked out that a sum of $20,000 will enable us to continue on into 2014. We are growing apace and the more and more people we have enjoying what we do, the easier it is going to be to carry on in the future. We need support now to break through to this next stage.
What are our plans?
As well as continuing to bring you rare and wondrous gems from the history of art and literature, we have lots of new ideas that we want to bring to fruition. Here are just a few of the exciting things we have planned for the coming year and beyond:
We need your help to make these happen. If you enjoy the website and would like to see it continue, please give what you can afford to help keep us going!
- Implementing beautiful and useful new ways of displaying and searching the content.
- A new section on the site that will more actively celebrate and promote those cultural institutions that have decided to make available their content in an open and unrestrictive way.
- Initiatives to bring as-of-yet undigitised rare and curious public domain works online.
- Printed themed volumes – hand-picked, encyclopedic collections of images, articles and textual fragments on different themes.
- The creation of beautiful new editions of rare and out-of-print works, including the commissioning of new introductory essays, translations and illustrations.