The New York Public Library just digitized 180,000 high-resolution items. The public can download them…for free!
The images, which are in the pubic domain (in other words, no longer subject to copyright), come from the library’s collection. The image repository includes botanical illustrations, ancient texts, historical maps—including the incredible Green Book collection of travel guides for African American travelers in the mid-1900s.
The Library has also released more than 40,000 stereoscopes, Berenice Abbott’s amazing documentation of New York City in the 1930s, and Lewis Hines’ photos of Ellis Island immigrants, as well as the letters of Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, among other political figures – which is cool for me on a personal level since I’m related to many of these historical figures.
The phrase “treasure trove” springs to mind. Considering the huge number of my ancestors and relations who moved from the southern states to New York City from the 1880s onwards, these images give me a glimpse into the lost world they lived in.
So, while US presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz may feel some sort of way about New Yorkers and their values, these images made me fall in love with New York and its history all over again.
You can access this image repository via http://digitalcollections.nypl.org