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Rutgers University Libraries

American Popular Culture: Finding Digitized Books

What's Available Online?

For a book to be legally digitized and to be publicly available online, either the holder of the copyright has to give permission for the digitization, or the book needs to be in the public domain. In the U.S., books in the public domain are usually those that were published prior to 1923, although under certain limited conditions later works may also be in the public domain. Books that are freely available online will be those that are in the public domain.

Black Drama

Black Drama: 1850 to the Present
The full text of 1,200 plays written from the mid-1800s to the present by 201 playwrights from North America, English-speaking Africa, the Caribbean, and other African diaspora countries. Includes a performance database and images.

Online Books

Google Books
Google has partnered with a number of universities to scan the full-text of public domain books in the university library collections. They've developed technology that enables them to scan more than 3,000 books per day. In addtion to the full-text of the books in the public domain, for many titles Google allows you to view snippets or selected pages from books still under copyright.
Internet Archive
Search the "Texts" files for specific titles or books on particular subjects.
Hathi Trust
A shared digital repository with over 2 million full-text digitized volumes in the public domain.
A digital humanities venture, based at Iowa State University. Classic and contemporary texts.

Early Imprints

Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800
Access to every book, pamphlet, and broadside published in the American colonies or the United States between 1639 and 1800. Includes advertisements, almanacs, bibles, catalogs, charters and by laws, contracts, cookbooks, elegies, eulogies, laws, maps, narratives, novels, operas, plays, poems, primers, sermons, songs, speeches, textbooks, tracts, travelogues, and treaties.
Off-Campus Access Rutgers-restricted Access

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO).
Digital versions of more than 180,000 English language titles and editions published between 1701 and 1800, allowing full text searching of more than 33 million pages of material. Includes books and broadsides, Bibles, tract books, and sermons, and printed ephemera.
Off-Campus Access Rutgers-restricted Access
Nineteenth-Century American Children and What They Read
From Dr.Pat Pflieger.
C19: The Nineteenth Century Index
The most comprehensive source for English language material printed in the 19th Century. Includes access to the Nineteenth Century Short Title Catalogue which seeks to document all printed books published in Britain, its colonies and the U.S.
Off-Campus Access Rutgers-restricted Access

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