Public Domain Day 2021

Post written by Michael Rodriguez, Collections Strategist and Rebecca Parmer, Head of Archives & Special Collections

New Year’s Day was Public Domain Day! 

Public Domain Image

On January 1, 2021, copyright expired for all works published in the United States in 1925. These works entered the public domain. Anyone is now free to share, use, and build on them in the US without permission or payment. Public Domain Day celebrates this trove of books, serials, music, and art that become public property on January 1.

Each January 1st, a new year’s worth of publications will enter the public domain. In 2022, copyright will expire for works published in 1926, and so on. Non-US works may enter the public domain later; this varies by creation date and country of origin. Sheet music from 1925 is entering the public domain this year, but sound recordings do not start entering the public domain till December 1, per the Music Modernization Act.

Some 1925 works were already in the public domain before January 1. This is because the copyright was not registered or renewed in time, under the US laws of the era. Works published after January 1, 1964 had their copyright automatically renewed by statute. But for works published between 1923 and 1964, works automatically entered the public domain if the copyright holder didn’t include a copyright statement at the time of publication or renew their copyright after 28 years.

Unfortunately, searching for the status of these works can be tricky. While copyright records from 1978 to today can be searched online, registrations and renewals for all works prior to 1978 can only be searched onsite in the US Copyright Office’s copyright card catalog. To help the public navigate the status of books published between 1923 and 1963, Stanford University Libraries developed a database of copyright renewals – but note that this only includes renewals for books, and not other copyrighted material like art, sound recordings, film, and so on.

Some Notable Books Entering the Public Domain

Book cover for "The Secret of Chimney's" by Agatha Christie

The BBC hailed 1925 as perhaps “the greatest year for books ever.”

In 1925, Ernest Hemingway published his first novel, F. Scott Fitzgerald penned The Great Gatsby, and Virginia Woolf wrote Mrs. Dalloway. Alain Locke published The New Negro, a defining work of the Harlem Renaissance that featured essays from Black luminaries such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston.

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
  • Alain Locke, The New Negro
  • Ernest Hemingway, In Our Time
  • Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy
  • Sinclair Lewis, Arrowsmith
  • Franz Kafka, The Trial (in German)
  • Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans
  • John Dos Passos, Manhattan Transfer
  • Agatha Christie, The Secret of Chimneys
  • James Weldon Johnson, Book of Negro Spirituals
  • Aldous Huxley, Those Barren Leaves
  • W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil
  • Edith Wharton, The Writing of Fiction
  • Etsu Inagaki Sugimoto, A Daughter of the Samurai

Other Works Entering the Public Domain

Image of "Sweet Georgia Brown" songbook cover
  • The first issues of the New Yorker magazine
  • Poems by Countee Cullen, Robinson Jeffers, Ezra Pound, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Hilda Doolittle, and many other poets
  • “Sweet Georgia Brown” and songs by Duke Ellington, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin, Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, and many other artists
  • Silent movies, including Rudolph Valentino’s starring role in The Eagle

Connecticut-Themed Works Entering the Public Domain

Image of an historical map of Connecticut

HathiTrust has created a digital collection with 37,530 resources–books, journal issues, research reports, and other items–that entered the public domain on New Year’s Day. Here are Connecticut-themed 1925 works that HathiTrust now makes free for all.

These resources provide unique historical perspectives on Connecticut’s public education system, research enterprise, finance industry, and libraries.

Some Works from UConn Library and Archives Entering the Public Domain

Search the UConn library catalog for works from 1925 or earlier. Below are just a few of the books in our special collections that were published in 1925.

Book Cover of "Doctor Dolittle's Zoo" by Hugh Lofting

Learn More about the Public Domain

James Boyle, The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind (Yale University Press, 2008). Download book for free from the author’s website.

January 1st Brings Public Domain Riches from 1925 – Internet Archive blog post.

Public Domain Day 2021 – Duke University, Center for the Study of the Public Domain.

Using Zines to Build Community

Make a Zine cover image

Archives & Special Collections acquired a collection of zines for use in research, teaching, and learning activities across campus and in the community. Zines (rhymes with “beans”)  are low-barrier, low-budget, photocopied publications in which authors are in full control of the entire process of creating a publication, from writing and layout to printing and distribution. Zines are made for the purpose of sharing information, and have often been used by historically marginalized or underrepresented subcultures and social movements to build communities where people can connect and communicate with one another. In times of strife and conflict, zines offer a cathartic art form to create and share stories of lived experiences and play a large role in communication for members of social and political movements.

Zine class in Archives & Special Collections

The zine collections in Archives & Special Collections contextualize and complement resources available at the UConn Library, including zine-making kits in the Library’s Maker Studio and publications available in the circulating collections for learning about and making zines.

Here are a few resources to get you thinking about making your own Zines

Post by Rebecca Parmer, Head of Archives & Special Collections

Honoring Dr. Robert Lougee’s Legacy to UConn

On a cold day in February we had the pleasure of meeting Robert Lougee, Jr. regarding a collection he and his sister, Lorraine Lougee, were donating to the Library. As we watched the snow fall, we learned not just about the importance of the book collection prized by Dr. Robert Lougee (May 4, 1919- July 6, 2019) and his interest in making sure they were made available to those who might benefit from them, but also insight into his personal and professional legacy.  

It was clear from the start of the conversation that the family has a deep love and respect for Robert. We learned of his service to the country including as an artillery officer (First Lieutenant) in Europe during World War II which sent him to the Battle of the Bulge, his love for his wife Grace and their nearly 77 years of marriage, his ability to read five languages, his respect of the beauty of nature, and the family vacations they all treasured together in New Hampshire.

Image of the Connecticut Daily Campus, newspaper, October 3, 1973
Connecticut Daily Campus, October 3, 1973

Professionally speaking, Dr. Lougee’s career at UConn began in 1949 when he moved his young family to Storrs, joining the faculty as an instructor in the History Department. Lougee thrived in the academic environment and in turn provided UConn with invaluable expertise and leadership for 35 years, including serving as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (1971-1974), University Senate President, head of the History Department, and countless committees including his part in the selection of President Glenn W. Fergueson (1973-1978). In an article from the Connecticut Daily Campus on October 3, 1973, President Fergueson is quoted as saying he accepted Lougee’s resignation as dean “most reluctantly, and only after many efforts to persuade him to continue.” When he retired from UConn in 1984, Lougee received dozens of letters of appreciation from his colleagues across campus and his profession, including one from our own library director Norman D. Stevens.

Beyond the formal titles and roles, perhaps most important is what Dr. Lougee gave back to the University through the humanity he brought to students and colleagues alike. It was not out of the question for him to bring home a sobbing student for lunch to help cheer them up or counsel foreign students who were struggling with the English language. During a conversation with Nora Stevens shortly after ours with Robert, she painted a picture of a different time at the University. Where faculty gathered as friends, enjoying luncheons and activities together. She fondly remembered the Lougees’ and their part in making UConn faculty, students, and staff feel like family. In fact, UConn was so much a part of the Lougee family, their dog Peter would follow him to his office and even showed up in the middle of one of his western civilization classes. Robert and Lorraine would agree, their father made a greater contribution because of the way he lived his life, treating everyone with a genuine sense of respect and dignity. 

Image of inscription from the book Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story. Statesman of the Old Republic by author R. Kent Newmyer.
Image of inscription from the book Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story. Statesman of the Old Republic by author R. Kent Newmyer.

After serving as an administrator, Dr. Lougee returned to his first love – teaching students and being a student and scholar himself. Dr. Lougee’s research passion was for modern European, German, and social history which is what built up the substantial collection of books. After his death at the age of 100, Robert, Jr. and Lorraine felt they could continue the legacy that was so important to him by generously donating over 1,600 books to the UConn Library. The collection was built through his academic research and leisure reading, including works in foreign languages, and in many of them you can find handwritten notes and marginalia, providing unique historical context valuable to researchers and book lovers. [You can learn more about Book Traces, a project we are involved in with the University of Virginia to document these types of communications.]

“I have personally looked through each book in the collection and am excited that students, faculty, and researchers will have the opportunity to use such a deep collection of primary research materials spanning World War I and World War II. Professor Lougee was building his collection in the same fashion we were, and it is full of top notch research titles for an incredible addition to UConn’s resources,” notes Dave Avery, our subject specialist to the History Department.  

Image of donated books

More than 300 books were permanently added to the collection and the remainder were donated to Better World Books, an organization that also believes in the power of knowledge and the desire to share it with those in need.

As I write this months after our meeting and months into working from home, I am reminded of how important it is to hear the stories of the people behind the donations. Over a cup of coffee, we learned so much more than Dr. Lougee’s collection of books but also the person he was. And when Robert pulled out the collection of typed, hand signed, and weathered letters sent for Dr. Lougee’s retirement, you can imagine that our University Archivist Betsy Pittman was like a kid in a candy store. They don’t just represent the gratefulness of Dr. Lougee’s colleagues, but also a reminder of the beauty found in a handwritten letter, a kind of communication that we rarely see these days. We also spoke to him about our CT Soldiers Collection which documents the experiences of Connecticut servicemen from the Civil War through the Vietnam War, and how his collection of written letters home while serving in the war would be an opportunity for researchers to see the kind of person he was during a difficult time in our country. 

“We are so pleased Robert and Lorraine chose to give back to UConn and its research through the Library,” said Dean Anne Langley. “The book collection will greatly benefit the general collections, and just as important, it opened up an opportunity to talk about how some of his other materials could continue to share with others the kind of person he was while benefiting researchers in Archives & Special Collections.”

There has been a delay in the processing of those books due to our temporary exit from the Homer Babbidge Library in March, and we expect the books will be made available through our catalog in 2021. For more information about the collection, please contact Dave Avery.

Meet the Staff

We caught up with our Stamford Campus Library Director Phara Bayonne and asked her a few questions. Phara has worked for the UConn Library since 2003 and even we learned a few new things about her!

Phara Bayonne, Director
UConn Library, Stamford Campus
Phara Bayonne, Director
UConn Library, Stamford Campus

How did you get into libraries?
I met a librarian at a career event, and we had a great conversation that drew me to investigate the field of librarianship 

What do you love most about working in a library?
I love helping people investigate and research information they need locating

In the midst of the pandemic, what do you do to take your mind off the crazy things happening in the world right now? 
I discovered TikTok

What’s your most used emoji?
Face palm

What was your first job?
Sales associate at a clothing retail store

What is on your reading list?
Caste by Isabel Wilkerson and Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett 

What’s your go-to productivity trick?
Checking my to-do list before checking email 

Do you have a hidden talent?
Double jointed in my arms

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
Time Travel

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, what would you pick?
Audible, YouTube, and Tidal 

Book Traces: Exploring the Past through Marginalia in Library Books

Post written by Michael Rodriguez, Collections Strategist

Book Traces Event Publicity - November 18, 2020, 1:00pm. Registration required at Co-sponsored by the UConn Humanities Institute and the UConn Library.
Join us for a virtual event about Book Traces on November 8 at 1:00pm. Registration is required at

Book Traces is a national project led by the University of Virginia to discover and document handwritten inscriptions, marginalia, and other readerly markings in old library books. Last year we were interested in knowing if our older collections in the stacks contained interesting marginalia and we discovered some remarkable stories about the books, their readers/owners, and the library that holds them.  

We randomly selected 2,000 UConn Library books published before 1925. We wanted books only with historical annotations – no highlighting or fresh marks! Once our student employee Vanessa Garcia located the book on the shelf, she paged through it and snapped photos of any noteworthy markings using a library-supplied iPad. All the photos were uploaded to, which features crowdsourced images of over 3,100 marked-up old library books. 

What did we find? 

Some 12% of the 2,000 books in our sample contained markings. Approximately 1.5% revealed what University of Virginia scholars call “notable interventions.” Supplemented by genealogical research, these markings give real insight into past readers and owners and enables us to trace the genealogy of library books. Like many universities, UConn Library’s early collections were built largely through gifts of previously owned books. Thus, our findings also give insight into UConn’s history and the growth of UConn’s library.

Inscription in UConn's copy of Chronicle of Calais in the Reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII. "I have always regretted your secession from the Camden Society,” wrote Nichols, “until now that it gives me the excuse for requesting your acceptance of a copy of the book I have just edited.”

Glued-in Letter from 1846 

UConn’s copy of Chronicle of Calais in the Reigns of Henry VII and Henry VIII was a gift—a peace offering—from prominent English printer John Gough Nichols in 1846. “I have always regretted your secession from the Camden Society,” wrote Nichols, “until now that it gives me the excuse for requesting your acceptance of a copy of the book I have just edited.” Nichols’ letter is glued onto the book’s flyleaf. The unknown addressee must have quit the Camden Society, founded by Nichols in 1838, after a dispute. He or his heirs presumably regifted Nichols’ book to UConn.

Inscription in UConn's copy of In Hospital

Reader Engagement with Poetry

In Hospital, a collection of poems by William Ernest Henley published in 1908, includes a poem called “Children: Private Ward,” on whose page is the annotation “see page 41, R. L. S.” On page 41, the owner of the book had copied in longhand a published letter by Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island. Like Henley’s poem, Stevenson’s letter alludes to children in sickbed. The book’s owner evidently felt it was very important to read poem and letter together. He or she may have felt a deep personal connection to the theme of children suffering from illness.

Notes of a Solo Woman Traveler 

Inscription in UConn's copy of Italien Handbuch für Reisende

Italien Handbuch für Reisende is a Baedeker’s German-language travel guide to Italy. Published in 1902, it is filled with miniscule, penciled English reading notes on Italian art and geography. The flyleaf shows an ownership inscription in the name of Ida Prescott Clough, with an address of Friedrichstraße 124 in Berlin, Germany, and a sketch captioned “Shape of Doge’s cap.” This refers to the distinctive hat worn as a mark of office by the Venetian doge, or leader. 

Research reveals that the book’s owner, Ida Prescott Clough (1875–1959) was a Bostonian and Radcliffe College alumna. In 1902, she lived and traveled in Europe, where she likely acquired this German guidebook, in which she jotted countless observations and sketches. Miss Clough journeyed solo in an era when society frowned on young women traveling unaccompanied. Later in life, she taught at Miss Porter’s School for Girls in Farmington, Connecticut.

Pressed Clover and Gift Inscription 

Verse (1862) is a book of poetry by Henry Webster Parker, a native of Danbury, Connecticut, who served as pastor of the North Congregational Church in New Bedford, Massachusetts. This volume’s flyleaf shows the gift inscription: “Presented to Mrs. Elizabeth Mayhew on her ninety-second birthday, with the friendly regards of H. W. Parker. New Bedford, June 26, 1862.” Mrs. Mayhew could have been one of Parker’s parishioners. On page 103 is a very different marking: a delicate clover pressed between the pages by an unknown reader, who perhaps felt inspired by Parker’s poem “More Light.” These verses call for reason to triumph over false beliefs.

How You Can Participate
1. Explore other examples of marginalia and readerly markings on In the dropdown menu “Browse by Institution,” select “University of Connecticut.”

2. Post your own photographs of markings in old library books.

3. Transcribe marginalia already available on

Comings and Goings

Since January we have had the opportunity to welcome new staff to the UConn Library and wished others well as they moved on to other positions or retirements. (Information is for the time period of July 1, 2019-September 30, 2020.)

Welcome to the UConn Library! 

  • Vanessa Blakely, Buildings & Grounds Officer (August 2019)
  • Joseph Clark, Buildings and Grounds Officer (August 2019)
  • Rhonda Kauffman, Metadata Management Librarian (August 2019)
  • Sharon Reidt, Metadata Management Librarian (September 2019)
  • Brooke Gemmell, Greenhouse Studios Design Technologist – made permanent (September 2019)
  • Melica Bloom, Research Services Coordinator, Archives & Special Collections (November 2019)
  • Thomas Lee, Greenhouse Studios Design Technologist – made permanent, (November 2019)
  • Kristina Edwards, Electronic Resources Librarian (January 2020)
  • Garrett McComas, Greenhouse Studios Fellow (February 2020)
  • Jason Anderson, Web Services Coordinator (March 2020)
  • Edward Lim, Business & Entrepreneurship Librarian (March 2020)
  • John Cropp, Access Services Associate (May 2020)
  • Michelle Green, Access Services Associate (June 2020)
  • Nadeen Atiq, Financial Services Assistant (July 2020)
  • Roslyn Grandy, Pharmacy Librarian (August 2020)
  • Hilary Kraus, Research Services Librarian  (August 2020)
  • Roxanne Peck, Associate University Librarian for Collections and Discovery (September 2020)

Congratulations on the following work anniversaries and promotions 

10 years of service

  • Stanley Huzarewicz
  • Theresa Palacios-Baughman

15 years of service 

  • Nanette Addesso
  • Janice Christopher 
  • Bill Haalck

20 years of service

  • Alice Fairfield
  • Joe Natale 
  • Ellie Penn
  • Laura Smith 

25 years of service

  • Kim Giard
  • Steven Batt
  • Richard Bleiler

30 years of service 

  • Fred Rick

35 years of service

  • Hilda Drabek
  • Sheila Lafferty

40 years of service

  • Barbara Mitchell

Librarian Promotions 

  • Jennifer Chaput, Librarian 2
  • Renee Walsh, Librarian 2

Congratulations to our retirees

  • Kathleen Labadorf (July 2019) 
  • Sharon Giovenale (September 2019)
  • Elinor Penn (February 2020)
  • Janice Swiatek (June 2020)
  • Fred Rick (July 2020)
  • Mike Slowik (July 2020)

We said goodbye to colleagues moving on to new opportunities

  • Joel Atkinson (July 2019)
  • Jill Livingston (September 2019)
  • David Ruiz (September 2019) 
  • Bob Swanson (September 2019) 
  • Marisol Ramos (May 2020)
  • Gerald Weis (July 2020)
  • Patrick Butler (July 2020)
  • Carlee Smith (July 2020)
  • Donovan Reinwald (July 2020)

In Memory

  • Tove H. (Sigurdsson) Rosado, Storrs, CT (February 2020)
  • Brinley R. Franklin, Bristol, RI (March 2020)
  • Margaret “Peg” McCormick, Lebanon, CT (May 2020)
  • Sue Carroll Gibbs, Fort Myer, FL (May 2020)

Meet the Staff

We chatted with Dean Anne Langley and asked her a few questions so you can get to know her better. 

Dean Anne Langley
Dean Anne Langley

How did you get into libraries?
I worked as a student assistant in a Library as an undergraduate and watched librarians and the role they played in academia and saw myself being a part of that.

What do you love most about working in a library?
Having access to all the information I could possibly want. 

Why was it important to you that having fun be a part of the values for the Library?
People are more productive and creative when they are having fun and in order to solve the challenges facing academia and libraries we have to be productive and creative.

What are you working on now that you want us to know about?
UConn has a new Provost and we have been working together on several initiatives including finding new models for accessing information, particularly journals. Since UConn also has a new President, we are working together to ensure that we incorporate their goals into building the right library for UConn.

In the midst of the pandemic, what do you do to take your mind off the crazy things happening in the world right now?
I am slightly addicted to BTS (the Bangtan Boys or Bulletproof Boy Scouts, is a seven-member South Korean boy band) and painting in my art studio.

What is a positive that has come from this pandemic?
Realizing how amazing our staff is under pressure and how they have stepped up in their game to support research and teaching at UConn. 

What’s your most used emoji?
Thumbs up.

What was your first job?
Short-order cook at a local diner.

Do you have a crazy library story to share?
In my first professional library position I got in trouble for having too much fun date stamping the journals and organizing chair races. 

What’s your go-to productivity trick?
Using brightly colored pens and paper.

What’s one professional skill you’re currently working on?
Dismantling racism. 

Do you have a hidden talent?

If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
Finding something good about anything.

From the Archive – UConn’s U.S. Anti-Black Racism Course.

Using activism and social justice collections in Archives & Special Collections.

“These issues are no different than those faced today, which I think highlights the idea that progress is a sustained organizing action and students need to see what has worked in the past and some things that haven’t.” – Graham Stinnett, Archivist

This fall UConn offered a new course designed to introduce students to the foundational history of systemic and anti-Black racism in the U.S. that underlies the current movement. The free course, titled U.S. Anti-Black Racism is coordinated by a team of three faculty of color at UConn through a series of online modules with topics including the history and concepts of systemic and institutionalized anti-Black racism, Black resilience and resistance, and intersectional solidarity.

April 24, 1974, issue of the Connecticut Daily Campus
April 24, 1974, issue of the Connecticut Daily Campus

One of those modules, Anti-Blackness on the College Campus, will highlight the Alternative Press Collections held in Archives & Special Collections. The module explores the Black student sit-in of April 22-24, 1974 at the University of Connecticut’s Wilbur Cross Library.  Using historical documents and photographs, archivist Graham Stinnett contextualizes and explores the recorded past to demonstrate the impact students of color have had in anti-racist activism at UConn.  A video created specifically for the class has been released as part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Archives & Special Collections as well as some other resources including photos and an interview with former library director Norman Stevens. 

Black student protest in Wilbur Cross Library, from the UConn Archives, April 23, 1974.
Black student protest in Wilbur Cross Library, from the UConn Archives, April 23, 1974.

Lessons from the Past – Open Access Primary Sources and COVID-19

In celebration of Open Access Week 2020, this is the fifth and final blog in a series written by the UConn Library Scholarly Communications Coordinating Group (SCCG) to explore how Open Access has impacted the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about the SCCG and find more resources, see our Scholarly Communications webpage.

As the novel coronavirus has spread across the globe, it has sparked comparisons to past global health crises, such as the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919. Seeking to make sense of the pandemic’s impact, scholars, physicians, public health officials, and journalists alike have turned to the past, drawing upon historical accounts and knowledge of these past events to inform our response today. 

Archives, libraries, museums, and agencies around the world have developed open collections of historical resources and primary sources related to global pandemics, epidemics, and other public health crises. From governmental, political, and public health actions to personal accounts, these freely accessible resources provide important insight and context into how societies responded to and learned from these events, helping us to not only understand our current environment but also to better prepare for the future.  


Sharing PPE Engineering Standards and DIY PPE Maker Designs

In celebration of Open Access Week 2020, this is the fourth blog in a series of five written by the UConn Library Scholarly Communications Coordinating Group (SCCG) to explore how Open Access has impacted the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about the SCCG and find more resources, see our Scholarly Communications webpage.

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the process of sharing information to help stop the spread of the virus. Engineering standards that address the design of personal protective equipment were made available for free by the ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ASTM International (American Society for Testing and Materials). Normally, all engineering standards are behind a paywall, only available for purchase or by an institutional subscription.   

In addition, the maker community was quick to respond by making CAD drawings on STL files of face shields and sharing them on websites like Thingiverse. Quilting and craft communities shared free templates for fabric face masks, designed to be worn by the public, thereby preserving the supply of N95 masks for medical personnel. To learn more about this, click on the links below.