Last month, I shared information about the Library of Congress’ Free to Use and Reuse program, and it seemed to be a bit of a hit.

This month the Library of Congress (LOC) invites you to check out some of the automobile photos in their copyright-free collections.

One of the most extraordinary aspects of all of the LOC photos available for download—to use as you wish, even commercially—is the file-size options the library offers. The picture above is from the National Photo Company collection. Showing a Model-T Ford sitting post-crash in Washington D.C., it’s downloadable in five file-types:

  • JPEG 5.6 KB,
  • GIF 18.7 KB,
  • JPEG 150.6 KB, and
  • TIFF 21.9 MB (the one that I downloaded).

Here’s a zoom into the TIFF. The tight-crop is remarkably clear considering the image was captured on a glass plate negative—in 1922.


On another note, I invite you to explore the Library of Congress’ website and, carefully consider what you discover there. At LOC, you’ll find an untold wealth of information. You’ll find some of the images, sounds, textures, and physical representations of things that have helped make our country a vibrant democracy.

Speaking from my wee soapbox here, it seems more important now than ever to revisit and use national resources such as LOC. They help remind us of our country’s long, rich history, our solid values, and our inquisitive, industrious, inclusive culture. Losing sight of these concepts for even a moment today could mean losing the underpinnings of how our nation and our freedom developed and grew to become the envy of the world.

Democracy is a remarkably durable concept, but—as we are seeing, as current events are proving—its endurance is not guaranteed.

See you at the library?

Free to use and reuse: CARS