Celebrating the Public Domain through digitization

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Cover image from Tampa Board of Trade, “Tampa: Florida’s greatest city.” (1928). Select Florida Studies Publications. 16.

Happy belated Public Domain Day!  While Public Domain 2024 may be most talked about this year for releasing the original Mickey Mouse, Steamboat Willie, to the public domain there are oodles of works that are transitioning into the public domain due to the expiration of their copyright protection.

Copyright protection for works created in the US currently lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years, but it hasn’t always been this way.  Changes in copyright legislation throughout the twentieth century mean that different types of material had different spans of copyright protection. This January, published works in 1928 that had met formalities required by copyright law at the time of publication are freshly falling into the public domain.

For six years now, the USF Libraries have celebrated this transition of copyrighted work by digitizing a selection of material from our collections. After a public vote, we added 23 titles across collections including three growing Digital Collection areas:  Florida Studies, Environmental and Natural History, and Sheet Music.

Florida Studies

Environmental and Natural History

Sheet Music

Cover image from Valdespino, Mary, “I don’t want to fly : (away from Tampa Bay)” (1928). Sheet music collection. 23.

Included in this year’s digitization is Esther Forbes’ A Mirror for Witches, a novel addressing the witch hunt in seventeenth-century New England that preceded Authur Miller’s more famous Crucible by several decades (Wikipedia).

Also among this year’s digitized items are a selection of titles by the author Betty Van Deventer.  Van Deventer published several books through Haldeman-Julius Publishing Company’s Little Blue Book series.  The Little Blue Books were intended to provide the working class with low-cost, pocket-sized literature and cultural commentary.  Van Deventer is most remembered for the book Confessions of a Gold Digger which is still referred to by scholars studying the gender conflicts of the 1920s (Dijkstra, 1996).

A few additional titles from the Little Blue Book series by a variety of authors join Van Deventer’s in our Digital Collections:

Once you are done perusing this year’s contributions to our Digital Collections, don’t forget to explore our previous celebrations:


  1. Dijkstra, B. (1996) Evil Sisters: the threat of female sexuality and the cult of manhood.  Alfred A. Knopf; New York.
  2. A Mirror for Witches. (2023, December 19) Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Mirror_for_Witches
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