The New York Public Library’s digital collections are vast. In early January 2016, they added more than 180,000 of its public-domain holdings to the digital collection. Visitors will find maps, posters, manuscripts, sheet music, drawings, photographs, letters, ancient texts, all available as high-resolution downloads. “These changes are intended to facilitate sharing, research and reuse by scholars, artists, educators, technologists, publishers, and Internet users of all kinds,” the library says in a statement.

Documents range from literary manuscripts and sheet music to maps, atlases, and stereoscopic views. The library also notes that the documents include Farm Security Administration photographs, papers from Founding Fathers, WPA-era art by African-American artists, the 16th-century Handscrolls of the Tales of Genji, and illuminated manuscripts from the Medieval Ages and the Renaissance.

The materials can be viewed and downloaded at the Digital Collections site.

Having trouble imagining what 180,000 images might look like? The NYPL also created a visualization of all the materials, sorted by date, genre, collection or even color.

Other cool projects that the NYPL has created — to fuel inspiration for others to use their open API of the collection:

  • a game based on public-domain mansion floor plans
  • a comparison of 1911 street photos with 2015 Google Street View images
  • a trip planner based on a guide to where black visitors would be welcomed in the 1930s-1960s

A sampling of the newly-available high-res images from the NYPL:

A lithograph of New Orleans, by the artist Henry Lewis and the lithographer Arnz and Co., is among the more than 180,000 public domain items now available for high-resolution download from the New York Public Library.

A lithograph of New Orleans, by the artist Henry Lewis and the lithographer Arnz and Co., is among the more than 180,000 public domain items now available for high-resolution download from the New York Public Library.

The public domain release includes more than 40,000 stereoscopic views — like this one of female prospectors in 1898.

The public domain release includes more than 40,000 stereoscopic views — like this one of female prospectors in 1898. B.W. Kilburn/New York Public Library

"Muhammad and Abu Bakr are feted by Umm Ma'badah's tribe," from a 16th-century illuminated manuscript depicting the life of the prophet Muhammad.

“Muhammad and Abu Bakr are feted by Umm Ma’badah’s tribe,” from a 16th-century illuminated manuscript depicting the life of the prophet Muhammad.

An early-20th century photo by Edwin Levick, "Uncle Sam, host. Immigrants being served a free meal at Ellis Island," is part of the NYPL's photography collection.

An early-20th century photo by Edwin Levick, “Uncle Sam, host. Immigrants being served a free meal at Ellis Island,” is part of the NYPL’s photography collection.

The NYPL's digital holdings include the papers of notable Americans: letters from Walt Whitman, journals by Nathaniel Hawthorne, receipts from Alexander Hamilton --€” and George Washington's recipe for "small beer." (http://exhibitions.nypl.org/treasures/items/show/130

The NYPL’s digital holdings include the papers of notable Americans: letters from Walt Whitman, journals by Nathaniel Hawthorne, receipts from Alexander Hamilton –€” and George Washington’s recipe for “small beer.”

(A transcription of Washington’s recipe is available here.) 

The NYPL's digital collections include a number of maps in the public domain, like this 1672 world map by Pieter Goos.

The NYPL’s digital collections include a number of maps in the public domain, like this 1672 world map by Pieter Goos.