The New York Public Library just digitized and made available more than 180,000 high-resolution items, which the public can download for free.
The images come from pieces in the library’s collection that have fallen out of copyright or are otherwise in the public domain. This includes botanical illustrations, ancient texts, historical maps—including the incredible Green Book collection of travel guides for African American travelers in the mid-1900s. They’ve 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.
One of the related projects they’ve created with this release is a cool visualization tool that lets you browse every item released.
It’s a true treasure trove and—warning!—a total time suck.
Say goodbye to your afternoon.