Everyday Historical Artifacts
Writing my debut novel, Reckoned by the Light of Stars, required untold hours of research, of getting into bed with the past, if you will. Rather than seeing history through the eyes of those who have filtered research through their own lens to hand down an interpretation, then filtering that information even further myself, technology has allowed that I, as much as possible, could step into the past with the people who lived it, thanks to online resources, especially materials kept in the public domain.
It has proven such a worthwhile endeavor to discover for myself, through maps and children’s books, house plans and garden manuals, magazine and newspaper articles of the 1920s, to learn for myself what daily life was like in that era, it seems imperative I share with others what I have found.
Items preserved in the public domain belong to all the people, without restriction. This throws wide gates that were previously offered only through formal educational channels and privilege, or to those who traveled to various repositories.
Access seems more important than ever in an era that sees increasing pressure to censor or ban books and information from public schools and institutions; from those who would present true events in a less-than-true manner; or those who wish to dismiss the past altogether and just “move on.”
History can tell its own irrefutable story through period artifacts found in various online holdings, especially those items in the public domain. My hope is to inform and inspire readers to access this wealth of knowledge, to advocate for expansion, and to explore that which belongs to all, without restriction.
More About the Public Domain
For more information about the public domain, visit Cornell University: