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Books & Documents in the Public Domain

African American Women Writers of the 19th Century – This collection from the New York Public Library features 52 works. The collection includes fiction, poetry, essays, and biographies, searchable by author, title or keyword.
Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts – 740 works from 129 authors, including books and documents. Subjects are English and American Literature and Western philosophy.
American Memory – American Memory is a group of collections from the Library of Congress. These collections include books, pamphlets, sheet music, and other printed materials. The collections include a number of books of first-person narratives of California’s early years, a collection of ballroom dance manuals and books related to pioneering in the upper Midwest.
American Studies Hypertexts – This project from the American Studies Department at the University of Virginia includes some unusual materials, including a selection of the slave narratives collected by the Works Progress Administration between 1936 and 1938.
Arthur’s Classic Novels – The site promises 1500 classic novels as well as other works. There are quite a few works of detective fiction, sci-fi, classic westerns, and Icelandic sagas. – The Bartelby site features content from reference, fiction, and non-fiction works. The reference collection includes the sixth edition of the Columbia Encyclopedia, the 4th edition of the American Heritage Dictionary, Roget’s Thesaurus, the American Heritage Book of English Usage, several collections of quotations, Gray’s Anatomy, the World Factbook, Strunk and Whites; Elements of Style, and the Columbia Gazetteer. Also included is the complete Harvard Classics and Shelf of Fiction–70 volumes in all.
Bibliomania – In addition to more than 2000 classic texts, Bibliomania provides study guides, author biographies, reference works, and discussion groups for registered users of the site. Registration is free.
British Women Romantic Poets, 1789-1832 – Currently includes works by about 40 poets. Some images from the original works are also included.
Classics in the History of Psychology – The description on the site explains “Classics in the History of Psychology is an effort to make the full texts of a large number of historically significant public domain documents from the scholarly literature of psychology and allied disciplines available on the World Wide Web. There are now over 25 books and over 150 articles and chapters online. The site also contains links to nearly 200 relevant works posted at other sites.”
Early Canadiana Online – An excellent source for those interested in Canadian history. The site has almost 3000 texts and pamphlets covering the period from the first European settlement of Canada to the late 19th century. Special collections include 700 documents relating to Canadian women’s history, over 800 works of drama, poetry, and fiction, biography and accounts of explorations, 900 titles by and about Native Peoples, and items related to the history of the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Internet Sacred Texts Archive – This site is described as an “archive of electronic texts about religion, mythology, legends and folklore, and occult and esoteric topics. Search by choosing from an extensive list of categories including Ancient Near East, Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Greek and Roman, Hinduism, I Ching, Islam, Judaism, Native American, Neopaganism/Wicca, Sacred Books of the East, Shamanism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, or Zoroastrianism.
Making of America – Making of America (MOA) is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology.
Native American Lore Index Page – Although this is not an e-book site in the strictest sense, this site hosts an interesting collection of 150 traditional stories from various tribes.
Page by Page Books – A collection of about 330 public domain works, including short stories, novels, Presidential inaugural addresses.
Perseus Digital Library – The Perseus Digital Library at Tufts University pulls together several different collections, including a facsimile edition of Shakespeare’s first folio, an archive on the history of London, and Greek and Roman texts and images of sites, coins, vases, and sculpture.
Project Gutenburg – download over 30,000 free ebooks to read on your PC, Kindle, iPhone or another device.
The Avalon Project at the Yale Law School – A collection of digitized documents, including some books, related to law, history, economics, politics, diplomacy, and government.
The Internet Classics Archive – Housed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, this site currently has the full-text of over 400 classical works. Most of the works are from the Greco-Roman era, although there are some works from Chinese and Persian literature. All works are translated into English. The search feature is currently disabled. Use the browse feature to find texts.
The Online Books Page – This is an excellent starting point in the search for full-text books on the Internet. Over 15,000 entries for books available online at different sites.
University of Virginia Electronic Text Center – Special collections include books by and about African-Americans and Native Americans, books by Women Writers, Civil War, and Early American Fiction and selected best sellers from 1900-1930.
Wright American Fiction, 1851-1875 – This collection is an effort to preserve and present every novel published in the United States between 1851 and 1875, using information from Lyle Wright’s bibliography.