Public Domain Day 2017

Monochrome, a suited man with a moustache holds a book.

Wells in 1890.

In most of Europe, a work that is published within the creator’s lifetime remains under copyright for seventy years after their death. As 2016 ends, the works of people who died in 1946 become freely available to all. Such people include…

Helen Bannerman

Helen was born in Edinburgh, but after marrying an officer from the Indian Medical Service she moved to Madras for thirty years. She wrote several children’s books about the Indian people, most famously The Story of Little Black Sambo, in which a small child is chased around a tree by tigers. Bannerman was also the grandmother of Professor Sir Tom Kibble.

The Lord Keynes

Perhaps history’s most famous economist, John Maynard Keynes is the founder of the Keynesian school of economic thought which held that the state should intervene to buffer against depressions and recessions. He has a long list of publications over the course of thirty-six years, but his most notable is A Treatise on Money, where he said that a recession would occur where saving exceeded investment, and that a nation’s wealth should be measured by national income rather than possession of gold.

Paul Nash

Primarily an artist rather than an author, Nash was posted to the Western Front with the Hampshire Regiment where he made sketches of life in the trenches. When sent back to London with a broken rib, he completed a series of twenty images which went on exhibition twice. He was later commissioned as an official war artist. In his next outing to the front he made “fifty drawings of muddy places” which eventually formed another collection. In World War Two he was made an artist for the Royal Air Force where he produced paintings of aeroplanes and the Battle of Britain.

Herbert George Wells

Dubbed by some as the father of science fiction, Wells’s bibliography spans more than fifty years. As well as the obvious classics – The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds – he also did non-fiction work such as Text-Book of Biology and a great many political publications such as War and the Future, The Way the World is Going and In Search of Hot Water and instruction books such as Little Wars which set out the rules for toy soldiers.

Further Reading:

2017 in Public Domain

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