Archive for the ‘National Archives’ Category
Posted by havealittletalk on May 28, 2011
Posted in Historical, Library of Congress, National Archives, Places | Tagged: American Cemetery Bougainville, Arlington Cemetery, Chaplain Jesse H. Crosset, Hamhung Korea, Library of Congress, National Archives, Ryukyu Islands, St. Mihiel American Cemetery, Terry Eiler | Leave a Comment »
Posted by havealittletalk on January 16, 2011
Posted in Historical, Library of Congress, National Archives, People, Places | Tagged: Alabama, Carol M. Highsmith, Civil Rights March on Washington D.C., Civil Rights Memorial, Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, Dexter Parsonage Museum, Dr. Martin Luther King, George F. Landegger Alabama Library of Congress Collection, Jr., Library of Congress, Martin Luther King Jr. Birth Home, Montgomery, National Archives | 1 Comment »
Posted by havealittletalk on September 23, 2010
Here’s something different. Petroglyphs are carved into rock; pictographs are painted on the surface, and “rock art” is an all-purpose general term that you can use should the first two fail. Sources for today’s post include The National Archives’ DocuAmerica, National Park Service (NPS), and the Naval Air Weapons Station– China Lake.
First, several pictographs photographed by David Hiser for the EPA’s DocuAmerica project posted at The National Archives website.
Moab, Utah: Newspaper Rock, Indian Creek Historic State Park. 05/1972. . ARC Identifier 545679, ARC Identifier 545671 [close-up]
Canyonlands National Park, Utah. 05/1972 ARC Identifier 545675
Horse Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, Utah. 05/1972 ARC Identifier 545687
The next three should be credited to the National Park Service (NPS):
The following is from the National Park Service’s Mesa Verde website and describes the small image to the right:
According to one Hopi elder, this petroglyph, found on Mesa Verde’s Petroglyph Point Trail, may tell the story of two clans (the Mountain Sheep Clan and the Eagle Clan) separating from other people and returning to their place of origin. Notice the boxy spiral shape? This likely represents a sipapu, the place where Pueblo people believe they emerged from the earth (believed to be near the Grand Canyon). You can also see the head and arms of a figure, and on the bottom right, a possible Katsina clan symbol.
Now here’s something new to me: one of the largest collections of petroglyphs in the US is on a military installation in California, and only one site, Little Petroglyph Canyon, is open to the public — and that is on a very limited basis:
Concentrated in secluded canyons of the volcanic Coso Range on the test ranges of the Naval Air Weapons Station, China Lake, Calif., are thousands of visual reminders of people who, thousands of years ago, hunted and gathered their food in this high desert. The Coso Range Canyons contain the highest concentration of rock art in the Western Hemisphere. More than 6,000 images have been pecked, engraved, or abraded into the desert varnish or patina that forms on basalt rocks with time and weathering.
No one knows for sure how old these petroglyphs are. A broad range of dates can be inferred from archaeological sites in the area and some artifact forms depicted on the rocks. Some of them may be as old as 16,000 years, some as recent as the 1800s. Designs range from animals to abstract to anthropomorphic figures. . . .
After the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, security concerns resulted in the cancellation of all petroglyph tours. While security is still a number one priority, NAWS houses one of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs in North America. Therefore, with security in mind, the Commanding Officer of NAWS has adopted a new policy to allow limited tours to the public.
All tours will be conducted with a minimum of two Command-approved escorts. These escorts are volunteers contributing their time to the tour groups so that you may see and enjoy the rock art of Little Petroglyph Canyon. …
One image in the media gallery at the installation’s website is of a geoglyph, which I suppose means the image was carved onto the ground rather than on a rock face:
“ This starburst-shaped geoglyph was located on one of the pre-historic sites.”
Here are some deer-shaped and sheep petroglyphs:
And one of geometric shapes and another that “differs from the other petroglyph designs in the canyons at NAWCWD, China Lake”:
To learn more about petroglyphs and pictographs, visit:
The Three Rivers Petroglyph Site: More than 21,000 glyphs of humans, animals, plants, geometric and abstract designs in the Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico.
Coso Rock Art District, China Lake, California. This site has an interesting essay on connection between shamanism and petroglyphs; unfortunately, its images are not in the the public domain.
Petroglyphs and Pictographs of Southeast Alaska, Tongass National Forest
Rock Images, NPS Archaeology page. List of locations of petroglyphs, but with many broken links.
Posted in Historical, National Archives, National Park Service, Places, US Air Force | Tagged: Canyonlands National Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, China Lake, Coso Range, David Hiser, Dinosaur National Monumment, DOCUMERICA, Gary M. Stolz, geoglyph, Indian Creek Historic State Park, Little Petroglyph Canyon, McKee Springs, Moab, Nageezi, National Archives, National Park Service, Naval Air Weapons Station, Newspaper Rock, petroglyphs, pictographs, Rock Art, Three Rivers Petroglyph Site | 20 Comments »
Posted by havealittletalk on November 8, 2009
Although the official dismantling of the Berlin Wall occurred between June and November of 1990, November 9, 1989, is remembered as the day the Berlin Wall effectively came down. New travel policies allowing East Berliners to travel to the West were drafted to take effect November 17, 1989, but when the announcement was made, that had not been made clear, and the assumption was that travel could begin immediately. As huge crowds came to the wall, the handful of guards at the checkpoints realized that the most sensible policy was to move that date forward a bit.
I’m adding a new source for public domain images in this post: the US Army. Here is its policy:
“Images on the Army Web site are cleared for release and are considered in the public domain. Request credit be given as “Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army” and credit to individual photographer whenever possible.”
“A U.S. tank crew stands guard at Checkpoint Charlie in West Berlin in 1961 during one of several standoffs between U.S. personnel and East German police that year. The sign in the upper right of the photo bears the famous remark made by Walter Ulbricht, General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany on June 15, 1961: ‘Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten — Nobody has any intention of building a wall.’ Two months later construction on the Berlin Wall began.” [US Army]
“Soldiers from the U.S. Army Berlin Command face off against police from the former East Germany during one of several standoffs at Checkpoint Charlie in 1961. On several occasions that year, a U.S. quick reaction force of tanks and infantry Soldiers stood watch as armed military policemen escorted U.S. personnel across the border into East Berlin.” [US Army]
The Wall Goes Up
“East German construction workers building the Berlin Wall, November 20, 1961.”
Photo/Caption Credit: National Archives
Aerial view of Berlin with yellow line denoting location of Berlin Wall. [NASA]
President John F. Kennedy mounts platform overlooking Berlin Wall. 06/26/1963 [ARC 194226]
The Wall Comes Down
A preserved portion of the Berlin Wall. [CIA W Fb]
The US Army Checkpoint (Checkpoint Charlie); the former crossing point between East and West Berlin. [CIA W Fb]
Sections of the Berlin Wall on display at the US Air Force Museum. [USAF]
Note: Arc= National Archives, CIA W Fb=CIA World Factbook
Posted by havealittletalk on October 9, 2009
If you watched episode 5 of Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, you may recall that the renown landscape photographer Ansel Adams (1902 —1984) once worked for the National Park Service. Prior to that assignment, Adams was with the Sierra Club, and in that capacity, he lobbied Harold Ickes, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior, to preserve Kings Canyon, a remote area east of Fresno, California, as a national park.
Kearsage Pinnacles, Kings River Canyon (Proposed as a national park), California, 1936. ARC Identifier 519921
Adams’ work for the NPA focused in particular on the Western National Parks, especially Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Great Rocky Mountains, and Glacier. The Ansel Adams Gallery and the NPS Yosemite National Park site include biographies of Adams, and his life was the subject of another production for PBS’s American Experience production, Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film, written and directed by Ric Burns, Ken Burns’ brother.
For the most part, Ansel Adams’s work is not in the public domain. However, the National Archives holds 222 copy negatives of Adams’s work for the government, and these 222 images are. According to the Archival Description for “Ansel Adams: Photographs of National Parks and Monuments,”
The original negatives were retained by Ansel Adams. Reproductions of items in this series are made from copy negatives produced by the National Archives. The photographic prints in this series are in the public domain. In correspondence dated August 18, 1942, from Adams to E. K. Burlew, First Assistant Secretary, Department of the Interior, Adams states that the photographs are the property of the U.S. Government.
All images in the post are by Ansel Adams, all courtesy of the National Archives.
View from river valley towards snow covered mountains, river in foreground from left to right, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. ARC Identifier 519905
View with rock formation in foreground, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. ARC Identifier 519881
View from North Rim, 1941, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. ARC Identifier 519901
Full view of mountain, Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, Glacier National Park, Montana. ARC Identifier 519866
Mountain partially covered with clouds, Glacier National Park, Montana. ARC Identifier 519860
View of cactus and surrounding area Saguaros, Saguaro National Monument, Arizona. ARC Identifier 519975
Old Faithful Geyser Erupting in Yellowstone National Park. ARC Identifier 519994
“The Giant Dome, largest stalagmite thus far discovered. It is 16 feet in diameter and estimated to be 60 million years old.” Hall of Giants, Big Room, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. ARC Identifier 520029
Posted in Historical, National Archives, National Park Service, Places, Plants | Tagged: Ansel Adams, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Glacier National Park, Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Kearsage Pinnacles, Kings River Canyon, National Archives, National Park Service, Old Faithful Geyser, public domain images, Ric Burns American Experience Ansel Adams: A Documentary Film, Saguaro National Monument, Saguaros, Yellowstone National Park | Leave a Comment »
Posted by havealittletalk on September 29, 2009
There are two places to look for public domain photographs of Everglades National Park on the National Park Service [NPS] website: the Images for Publication page on the park site, and the NPS Digital Image Archive.
At the Everglades park site, check out the interactive map of the 1.5 million acre park. I’ve provided a snapshot of it, but can’t do the map justice here, and you really need to see just how huge this park is — except for the Miami metropolitan area and the Keys, it is South Florida. The map will also give you an idea of how little of the park is accessible by car, and, moreover, not much more can be reached on foot alone. This fragile ecosystem is a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance. To be all three is exceptional.
Ten Thousand Islands (courtesy: NPS). If you’ve read Peter Matthiessen’s Everglades trilogy [Killing Mr. Watson, (1991), Lost Man's River (1997), and Bone by Bone (2000)], you’ll remember the Ten Thousand Islands were the setting for those novels about the people who lived beyond the edge of civilization and their reasons for being there. The turn-of-the-century slaughter of thousands of birds for their plumes to adorn ladies’ hats is among the many acts of violence described in Matthiessen’s trilogy; the Park is now a sanctuary for over 360 species of birds, 50 species of reptiles, and 40 species of mammals, many rare or endangered.
How to see the Everglades: tram trail and visitor’s observation tower at Shark Valley (courtesy: NPS).
What the NPS refers to as a “freshwater prairie” (courtesy: NPS).
Mangroves (courtesy: NPS)
The Florida Bay (courtesy: NPS)
The next three images are all National Park Service Photos taken by Rodney Cammauf:
Florida Panther, Puma concolor coryi
American Alligator, Alligator mississippiensis. American Crocodile, Crocodylus acutus
Another source of public domain images of the Everglades is the DOCUMERICA collection at the National Archives. These were taken by Fred Ward. Remainder of photos are all courtesy National Archives, and the captions are from their bibliographical records.
PELICANS ON MANGROVES, 07/1972. ARC Identifier 544563
PELICANS ON LITTLE PAVILION KEY AT 10,000 ISLANDS, 08/1972. ARC Identifier 544500
BABY PELICAN AND EGGS IN NEST, 08/1972. ARC Identifier 544513
CHOKOLOSKEE ROOKERY IN EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, 08/1972. ARC Identifier 544493
HERON NEAR CHOKOLOSKEE ROOKERY IN EVERGLADES PARK, 08/1972. ARC Identifier 544489
BABY CORMORANT IN CHOKOLOSKEE ROOKERY, 08/1972. ARC Identifier 544497
BABY EGRET IN NEST, 08/1972. ARC Identifier 544501.
Posted in Animals, National Archives, National Park Service, Places | Tagged: American alligator, American crocodile, Chokoloskee Rookery, cormorant, DOCUMERICA, egret, Everglades National Park, Florida Bay, Florida panther, Fred Ward, freshwater prairie, heron, Killing Mr. Watson, mangroves, National Archives, National Park Service, pelicans, Peter Matthiessen's Everglades trilogy, public domain images, Rodney Cammauf, Shark Valley, Ten Thousand Islands | Leave a Comment »
Posted by havealittletalk on September 27, 2009
While the first stop for public domain images of US National Parks would be the nps.gov website, there are other options you might want to consider as well, specifically, the DOCUMERICA parks collection at the National Archives and the Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs Online Catalog [PPOC]. Here’s an example of what you might otherwise overlook.
David Hiser, whose photos of sustainable housing designed and built in the early 1970s by Michael Reynolds outside Taos, NM were featured in my last post, also photographed several national parks during his tenure at the Environmental Protection Agency, including Arches National Park, near Moab, Utah.
All photos by David Hiser, all courtesy of National Archives. Captions and archive IDs are collected at the post’s ending.
1. Double O Arch 07-1882t 545555
2. DELICATE ARCH IS THE MOST FAMOUS ARCH IN THE PARK. THE LASAL MOUNTAINS ARE BEHIND TO THE EAST, 05/1972 ARC Identifier 545569 /
3. DELICATE ARCH, A NIGHT TIME VIEW, 05/1972. ARC Identifier 545586
4. DELICATE ARCH, THE MOST FAMOUS NATURAL ARCH IN THE PARK. IT IS IN A SUPERB RAISED AND ISOLATED LOCATION, REACHED BY A ONE-AND-A-HALF MILE FOOT TRAIL. BEHIND IT, TO THE EAST, ARE THE LASAL MOUNTAINS, 05/1972. ARC Identifier 545793
5. DOUBLE ARCH IN WINDOWS SECTION OF ARCHES NATIONAL PARK, 05/1972. ARC Identifier 545582
Posted in National Archives, National Park Service, Places | Tagged: Arches National Park, David Hiser, DOCUMERICA, Moab Utah, National Archives, National Park Service, public domain images | Leave a Comment »
Posted by havealittletalk on September 20, 2009
What have we here? The building block for a new house, of course.
I was looking in the National Archives digital copy catalog for something else entirely when I came upon a series of photos taken by David Hiser in 1974-1975 for the Environmental Protection Agency documenting the construction of several experimental houses designed by architect Michael Reynolds.
Curious about whatever became of this project, I searched for “Michael Reynolds,” “architect,” “Taos,” and discovered that over the past 35 years later Reynolds has continued his experiments in what he calls “Earthship Biotecture.” You can read about it and see photos of his recent designs at Earthship, and his work and life are the subject of a recent award-winning documentary, Garbage Warrior, by Oliver Hodge, now available on DVD.
David Hiser went on to work with National Geographic. You can read about him here.
These EPA pictures are from the DOCUMERICA collection in the National Archives and Records Administration, which contains almost 22,000 images taken between 1972 and 1977:
The idea behind DOCUMERICA was simple. Beginning in 1972, the EPA contracted out assignments to photographers who were paid $150 a day plus film and expenses to shoot a variety of images. . . . Photographers received full credit for any accepted images, and any rejected images were their property. All approved DOCUMERICA images became property of the U.S. government. DOCUMERICA drew upon a long history of government photography projects, but it was the brainchild of Gifford Hampshire. . . who raised the idea of a documentary photography project with aides to EPA director William Rickshaws. Several of the staff members had heard of the New Deal photography projects and were intrigued with the idea of a new project dealing with environmental issues. Soon afterward, the EPA`s Office of Public Affairs asked Hampshire to organize DOCUMERICA.
I don’t know if Hiser or an EPA staffer wrote the captions for the pictures. I’ll let them tell the story. All photos by David Hiser, all courtesy National Archives.
Caption for top picture: “BASIC BUILDING BLOCK OF EXPERIMENTAL HOUSING BEING BUILT OF EMPTY STEEL BEER AND SOFT DRINK CANS NEAR TAOS, NEW MEXICO. A TOTAL OF EIGHT CANS WEIGHING 14 OUNCES ARE WIRED TOGETHER AND PLACED IN MORTAR IN THE OUTSIDE WALLS AT A COST OF 15 CENTS PER UNIT. SIX CANS ARE EVIDENT IN THE PICTURE. THE OTHER TWO CANS HAVE BEEN FLATTENED AND PLACED BETWEEN THE UPRIGHT AND HORIZONTAL CANS TO ACT AS WEATHER STRIPPING AND TO PREVENT AIR FLOW THROUGH THE WALLS. A MACHINE COULD BE DESIGNED TO MAKE THE UNITS AT A SHARPLY REDUCED COST.” [ARC Identifier 556616]
“THE INSIDE WALLS ARE BUILT WITH CANS IN THE POSITION SHOWN. THE OUTSIDE WALLS ARE CONSTRUCTED USING AN EIGHT CAN UNIT AS A BUILDING BLOCK” [ ARC Identifier 556618, 55631]
“FIRST EXPERIMENTAL HOUSE COMPLETED NEAR TAOS, NEW MEXICO USING EMPTY STEEL BEER AND SOFT DRINK CANS. THE HOUSE WAS BUILT USING CURVED WALLS BECAUSE THEY HAVE MORE STRENGTH, RESULTING IN PIE-SHAPED INTERIOR ROOMS. THERE IS A LAWN ON THE ROOF BELOW THE OVERHANG AT THE TOP OF THE STRUCTURE. RE-CYCLED PAPER PULP IS USED TO COVER THE CEILING OF THE INTERIOR. LATER HOMES WERE BUILT WITHOUT CURVED WALLS AFTER THE DESIGNER FOUND THE CANS WOULD SUPPORT MUCH MORE WEIGHT THAN THEY WOULD HAVE TO BEAR. UNIVERSITY TESTS LATER SUBSTANTIATED HIS FINDING.” 06/1974 [ARC Identifier 556623]
“LAWN ON THE ROOF IS ONE OF SEVERAL UNUSUAL ASPECTS OF THIS EXPERIMENTAL HOUSE BUILT NEAR TAOS, NEW MEXICO, USING EMPTY STEEL BEER AND SOFT DRINK CANS. THE LAWN REQUIRES DAILY ATTENTION BECAUSE OF THE DRY ENVIRONMENT. A DOOR IN THE GLASSED-IN SECTION IN THE BACKGROUND GIVES ACCESS TO A BALCONY OVERLOOKING THE LIVING ROOM WHICH IS PIE-SHAPED. THE HOUSE, THE FIRST TO BE BUILT WITH CAN CONSTRUCTION, WAS MADE CIRCULAR WHICH GIVES THE WALLS ADDED STRENGTH. THE ROOF IS USED FOR SUN BATHING AND ENTERTAINING.” [ARC Identifier 556625]
“ARCHITECT AND EXPERIMENTAL HOUSE BUILDER MICHAEL REYNOLDS LIVES IN THIS STRUCTURE WHICH IS A COMPENDIUM OF HIS EXPERIMENTS IN THE FIELD, NEAR TAOS, NEW MEXICO. THE LEFT PORTION OF THE STRUCTURE WITH THE PYRAMID-SHAPED ROOF HAS BEEN BUILT USING EMPTY STEEL BEER AND SOFT DRINK CANS. THE SLOPING WALL AT ITS BASE IS A SOLAR HEAT COLLECTOR. REYNOLDS HAS BUILT ENTIRE HOMES FROM THE CANS, AND REPORTS THEY CAN BE BUILT AS MUCH AS 20% CHEAPER THAN CONVENTIONAL HOUSING.” 06/1974 [ARC Identifier 556619]
“ANOTHER EXPERIMENTAL HOUSE MADE OF EMPTY STEEL BEER AND SOFT DRINK CAN CONSTRUCTION NEAR TAOS, NEW MEXICO. THIS HOUSE WILL BE PLASTERED WITH ADOBE LIKE THE OTHER HOMES IN THE AREA, BUT WILL HAVE COST UP TO 20% LESS, ACCORDING TO ARCHITECT MICHAEL REYNOLDS THE ROUNDED WALLS ARE LOAD BEARING AND ARE MADE WITH BUILDING BLOCKS OF EIGHT CANS. THE FLAT WALLS ARE NOT LOAD BEARING AND ARE BUILT WITH SINGLE CANS LAID HORIZONTALLY, END OUT, IN THE MORTAR.” 06/1974 [ARC Identifier 556628]
“ARCHITECT AND EXPERIMENTAL HOUSE BUILDER MICHAEL REYNOLDS WHO LIVES NEAR TAOS, NEW MEXICO, IN THE PYRAMID-SHAPED ROOM WHERE HE SLEEPS. IT IS MODELLED EXACTLY AFTER THE GREAT PYRAMID IN EGYPT HE IS EXPERIMENTING WITH THE EFFECTS OF THE PYRAMID ON HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS. HE IS KEEPING A JOURNAL OF HIS THOUGHTS AND EXPERIENCES, AND HOPES TO WRITE A BOOK ON THE SUBJECT.” 06/1974 [ARC Identifier 556620]
“CONSTRUCTION OF ONE OF THREE EXPERIMENTAL HOUSES BUILT FROM EMPTY BEER AND SOFT DRINK CANS. ALL ALUMINUM CANS ARE BEING USED IN THIS CONSTRUCTION … DESIGNER MICHAEL REYNOLDS IS USING THEM BECAUSE THEIR AVAILABILITY HAS INCREASED. AN UNSKILLED WORKER IS LAYING ONE OF TWO THICKNESSES OF CANS WHICH WILL BE SEPARATED BY A VERTICAL SHEET OF FOAM INSULATION. THE EXTERIOR WILL BE GLASS, UNPAINTED CONCRETE AND EXPOSED CANS.” 06/1974 [ARC Identifier 556638]
“…THE FINISHED FOUNDATION WITH UPRIGHT FORMS FOR POURING CONCRETE BEAMS.” 06/1974 [ARC Identifier 556636]
“COMPLETED PICTURE OF THE EXPERIMENTAL ALL ALUMINUM BEER AND SOFT DRINK CAN HOUSE NEAR TAOS, NEW MEXICO. IT TOOK ABOUT 70,000 CANS TO COMPLETE THE TWO STORY STRUCTURE. THE CANS WERE LAID HORIZONTALLY IN TWO THICKNESSES, SEPARATED BY A VERTICAL SHEET OF FOAM INSULATION.” 01/1975 [ARC Identifier 556644]
“INTERIOR VIEW OF THE ALL ALUMINUM BEER AND SOFT DRINK CAN EXPERIMENTAL HOUSE NEAR TAOS, NEW MEXICO. THE OWNERS REPORT THE HOUSE SEEMS TO WORK WELL SO FAR AND GIVES THE FEELING OF BEING VERY SOLID. THE SOUTH FACING WINDOWS CAPTURE HEAT FROM THE SUN.” 01/1975 [ARC Identifier 556647]
Posted in Historical, National Archives, People, Places | Tagged: David Hiser, DOCUMERICA, Earthship Biotecture, Environmental Protection Agency, Garbage Warrior, Gifford Hampshire, Michael Reynolds, National Archives, New Deal, Oliver Hodge, public domain images | 1 Comment »
Posted by havealittletalk on September 12, 2009
These first two murals can be found at A New Deal for the Arts, an online exhibit at the National Archives.
History of Southern Illinois. By Paul Kelpe, Illinois Federal Art Project, WPA, ca. 1935-39 Gouache.
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, National Archives and Records Administration (MO 56-331)
Electrification. By David Stone Martin, Treasury Section of Fine Arts, 1940, Tempera on cardboard. Fine Arts Collection, General Services Administration (FA4703)
Dozens of the 2,500 or so murals executed under the auspices of the Federal At Project and Works Progress Administration can be found online.
Now you know if you’ve followed this blog that I have been careful to make sure that those images I present as public domain are from sites where their status is unambiguously presented and no permission is required for personal, educational, and research purposes, or for commercial ones, which is in fact what public domain is all about.
My understanding is that a work is either in the public domain, or it is not. It is not in the public domain for some purposes and not in the public domain for others.
Consider the absence of qualifications in this definition from “Glossary of Intellectual Property Terms,” taken from the U.S. Department of State publication, “Focus on Intellectual Property Rights,” as posted on America.gov.
PUBLIC DOMAIN [general intellectual property]. The status of an invention, creative work, and commercial symbol that is not protected by any form of intellectual property law. Items in the public domain are available for free copying and use by anyone.
I can’t see how WPA murals can be anything but public domain. But I found myself up against a complication here. Simply digitizing a photo adds nothing to it, but taking a photo of a mural, while adding nothing new, does take skill, so there may well be a good argument that although the subject of the photo–the mural– is in the public domain, the photo itself should not be so considered.
Fair enough, unless the mural was photographed by a Federal employee during work hours. Then it seems to me that the image should be in the public domain.
So it was with great frustration that I tried to make sense of the restrictions posted on The New Deal Network. There are all kinds of resources on this site, including a number of pictures of WPA murals. But each page includes a copyright notice and this:
Materials on this site may be used without permission for educational, non-commercial purposes, such as classroom distribution, student reports, etc. However, credit should be given to the New Deal Network. Lesson plans may be used without permission.
The New Deal Network (NDN) was created by the Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute (FERI),
with the assistance of IBM, Marist College, and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library, and continued its development in cooperation with the Institute for Learning Technologies at Columbia University from 1997 to 2001. NDN was developed with a grant from the NEH.
So it isn’t entirely federally funded.
This is NDN’s statement on permissions:
Personal or Educational Use
Permission is NOT required to use photos or documents for educational purposes such as classroom distribution, school reports and projects, etc.
Commercial Publishing Use
The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute does not hold copyrights on any of the materials from other sources republished on the New Deal Network website; therefore we cannot grant permission to use these materials. In cases where the items are copyrighted and the NDN received permission to use them, there will be a copyright or permissions statement indicating the copyright holder. In those instances, to obtain permission to reprint the materials, please contact the copyright holder listed.
If no such copyright holder is noted the item is most likely in the public domain, but we cannot guarantee that. It is the responsibility of the user to research the copyright status of the item. Please contact the listed Publisher or Owner of the item to obtain copyright information.
and this is FERI‘s:
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library provides prints from its files for reference purposes only. Permission to use photographs credited to commercial sources must be obtained from the copyright owner. No permission is needed to use those photographs in the public domain. The Library also has many photographs for which the rights owner is not known, although the staff has made an effort to determine the rights possessor. The responsibility for publication of these photos rests with the user. The Library would appreciate a courtesy line for the use of those photos in the public domain and those for which the copyright owner is unknown, e.g. “Courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum, Hyde Park, New York.”
What I don’t understand is why, when the source for an image of a WPA mural on NDN is identified as the National Archives, and the National Archives identifies an image of a comparable WPA mural as having no use restrictions, the same status doesn’t apply over at NDN.
Let’s compare data from the National Archives for The Marian Anderson Mural by Mitchell Jamieson at the Interior Department Building in Washington, D.C. (ARC Identifier 195952) [shown below]:
Part Of: Series: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs, compiled 1882 1962
Access Restriction(s): Unrestricted
Use Restriction(s): Unrestricted
and that for 1939 World’s Fair Mural, over at New Deal Network [not shown]:
Credits: Fogel, Seymour (Artist)
Owner: National Archives and Records Administration
Use of this Image: Permission is not required to copy or print this image for personal or educational use such as school projects, classroom distribution, etc.
Click here to request permission to reprint this image in a commercial book, publication, or website, or for other commercial uses such as advertising or exhibits, or to request information on ordering a print.
See what I mean?
Links to other sites with pictures WPA murals but that aren’t noted as available for unrestricted use, i.e. public domain:
List of Links to On-Line Exhibits at wpamurals
Posted in National Archives, WPA | Tagged: A New Deal for the Arts, David Stone Martin, Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, Illinois Federal Art Project, Mitchell Jamieson, National Archives, New Deal Network, Paul Kelpe, public domain images, The Marian Anderson Mural, Works Progress Administration, WPA | 3 Comments »