I didn't want to let your question expire unanswered, so I've added
some links below to some very useful sources of materials, much of
which is in the public domain. These links will be excellent sources
of information for you, as you zero in on the type of content you
If you have any questions about this information, just let me know.
Simply post a Request for Clarification, and I'm at your service.
All the best,
For starters, the Making of America site at:
has an absolutely wonderful collection of books and magazines from the
formative years of the American republic. Most of the material here
is 19th or early 20th century, and is well before the copyright cutoff
date of 1923.
As the site says:
"Making of America (MoA) is a digital library of primary sources in
American social history from the antebellum period through
reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject
areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion,
and science and technology. The collection currently contains
approximately 8,500 books and 50,000 journal articles with 19th
A search on some key words of interest, such as "encyclopedia" or
"dictionary" or "annual" (as in annual reviews) will return a
treasure-trove of public domain texts.
The federal government is also a bottomless pit of public-domain
publications, and again, the challenge is sorting through what's
available to zero in on the publications that would be of most use to
you. A good starting point is this FirstGov site:
which organizes the federal government materials into useful
sub-categories for ease of exploration.
Just as a for-instance, the 168-page "2005 Consumer Action Handbook"
can be downloaded here:
and is free to use as a public-domain document.
Lastly, is this great resource for military documents (also, virtually
all public domain), organized by historical periods:
Looking for some fascinating reading on the Civil War, WWII, or
Vietnam...this is the site.
Again, let me know if you need any additional information.
search strategy -- Used bookmarked sites.