Today is Public Domain Day 2021, the end of copyright for works first published in the U.S. in 1925. Yes, this means that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby has finally entered the public domain (nearly 96 years after its first publication), though you’ll still have to wait another 9 years for Tender is the Night.
Other works entering the public domain in the U.S. today include Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, Sinclair Lewis’s Arrowsmith, and Alain Locke’s important Harlem Renaissance anthology The New Negro, as well as 25 Dorothy Parker poems. The full texts of the 1925 books that have been scanned by the Internet Archive, Hathi Trust, Google Books, and other digital archives will soon be made publicly available on their websites.
Visit the Public Domain Day 2021 website from Duke Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain to explore some of the books, music, and films that are now free to use, reprint, quote, remix, and adapt without permission or payment. For background and further reading about copyright and the public domain, see my earlier posts on Public Domain Day 2019 and The Great Gatsby.
I’ll leave you with a few of Maxfield Parrish’s beautiful illustrations from the 1925 first edition of The Knave of Hearts, now in the public domain. (Photographs courtesy of Bauman Rare Books. Click on an image to make it larger.)