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Finding Documents

Most materials are in the public domain if they were produced before 1923. I see this as roughly equivalent to everything that happened in the world up to and including World War I! If you're looking for newspaper articles in Chronicling America, for example, you will note that coverage ends in 1922. 

Primary sources produced by the federal government are normally in the public domain both before and after the magic copyright date of 1923. That explains why we as teachers can use the fabulous oral history interviews of former slaves collected between 1936 and 1938 by workers from the Federal Writers' Project.

About Copyright and Fair Use

Pro Tip: Have the image, but not the source -
do a reverse Google Image Search


Focusing your search using a search operator [site:loc.gov] 


Finding Public Domain Visual Documents


My best sites for primary and secondary sources
  1. in World History Link
  2. in US History Link

Creative Commons and Public Domain Search Tools