Spotlight on the Public Domain, Biblio File, The Ticketless Traveler
Famous Literary Locales, Visualized
The New York Public Library recently threw open the doors to our digital collections, making 180,000 public-domain available to the public for free—and it’s opened up huge rabbit holes that you can’t help but fall down.
In Readers Services, we went hunting for images that evoke our favorite literary scenes, and oh the places you can go…
Here are some of our favorites.
John Steinbeck’s Dust Bowl America
Edith Wharton’s New York City
When Lily Bart fell from grace in The House of Mirth, she did it in the elegant apartment buildings of Golden Age New York. Roam their interiors via the Apartment Houses of the Metropolis Collection.
Eloise’s Plaza Hotel
A detail shot from a menu at the Plaza Hotel—home of Kay Thompson’s indomitable little girl Eloise, who likes to “scamper to the Terrace room where those debutantes are prancing around.”
Catherine the Great’s Moscow
Gentlewomen such as this one may have roamed the streets of Moscow during the era of Catherine the Great, the subject of much literary fiction.
Oliver Twist’s London
Charles Dickens's serialized tale of the streetwise orphan was published serially, starting in 1837; this print depicts
“the lamplit colonnade of a theatre, where elegantly dressed patrons of the opera are seen departing after a performance... while a shabbily dressed man approaches a well-dressed trio, probably soliciting business for a hansom cab.”
Adorn your wall with an art print of this 1681 map of Transylvania and its environs—where Bram Stoker’s Dracula roamed two centuries later.
Sir Walter Scott’s Edinburgh
The Scottish novelist wrote a series of novels in the early 19th century that center on the Old Tollbooth Prison in Edinburgh. This landscape, looking toward civilization, may echo what he saw.
Salem of The Crucible
The caption on this postcard reads, “where victims of witchcraft were condemned, 1692”—the setting for Arthur Miller's iconic play about the Salem witch hysteria.
The French poet’s notion of modernity was formed in Paris, presumably on streets that looked much like this pencil drawing.
Jules Verne’s flying machines
What other book and image pairings can you think of?
Have trouble reading standard print? Many of these titles are available in formats for patrons with print disabilities.
Staff picks are chosen by NYPL staff members and are not intended to be comprehensive lists. We'd love to hear your ideas too, so leave a comment and tell us what you’d recommend. And check out our Staff Picks browse tool for more recommendations!