Free to Use and Reuse: Cycling Season Has Arrived!

Julia Obear, a bicycle messenger, wears the hat of the National Women’s Party while cycling in 1922.

On Sunday night, July 16, 1895, Hattie Strage of Chicago was arrested and fined for disorderly conduct. Her offense? Bicycling over the city’s fashionable South Side boulevards “arrayed in a bloomer suit consisting of flesh-colored tights and a short jacket.”

Women’s cycling attire was a subject of intense scrutiny at the dawn of the golden age of bicycling in America, as documented by newspaper stories highlighted on the Library’s Chronicling America site—the notice about Strage’s arrest appeared in the Mexico (Missouri) Weekly Ledger.

This month, as warmer weather signals the start of the cycling season, we’re adding to our Free to Use archive all kinds of themed content about bicycles. We’re including images portraying early women cyclers like Strage, but also historical ads featuring bicycles, cartoons, lithographs, maps and more.

The Free to Use archive features themed sets of content (such as travel posters, presidential portraits, Civil War drawings, dogs and, now, bicycles) that are all free to use and reuse, meaning there are no known copyright restrictions associated with this content. In other words, you can do whatever you want with it.

Scroll down for a few more examples and make sure to check out other sets in the archive. And if you find a creative way to reuse any of the images, let us know by commenting on this post.

Happy Cycling!

Theatrical poster for Chas. H. Kabrich, the “only bike-chute aeronaut,” who performed a “novel and thrilling” bicycle parachute act in mid-air, 1896.

Actress Madge Lessing holds a musical horn to her lips while cycling, 1898.

“Voyage a la Lune,” a French cartoon showing a man riding on a bicycle-like flying machine, circa 1865–70.

A woman cycler is featured on a patent-medicine ad for hair oil, 1869.

Irish-American Heritage Month: New Resources

To celebrate Irish-American Heritage Month—and of course St. Patrick’s Day!—we’re adding new images to our Free to Use and Reuse archive and releasing a new resources guide associated with the Irish-American experience. Last month, we launched our Free to Use archive featuring sets of themed content: travel posters, presidential portraits, Civil War drawings and all […]

Free to Use and Reuse: Making Public Domain and Rights-Clear Content Easier to Find

One of our biggest challenges is letting you know about all of the content available at loc.gov. Another challenge we have is letting you know what you can do with it (in a nice way). We are working on several fronts to improve the visibility of public domain and rights-clear content. We moved one step […]

Calling All Photo Fans and History Detectives: Flickr Commons, 10th Anniversary

The following is a guest post by Helena Zinkham, chief of the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division. It was first published on “Picture This,” the division’s blog. It’s a remarkable achievement for any social media program to still be going strong after 10 years. But the most important part of the Flickr Commons is the […]

Free to Use and Reuse: Selections from the National Film Registry

The Library of Congress is offering film lovers a special gift during the holiday season: Sixty-four motion pictures, named to the Library’s National Film Registry, are now available online. The collection, “Selections from the National Film Registry,” is also available on YouTube. These films are among hundreds of titles that have been tapped for preservation because of […]

Free to Use and Reuse: The Story of Abraham Lincoln

Last week, the Library announced a new online presentation of Abraham Lincoln’s papers from his time as a lawyer, congressman and the 16th president. The refreshed digital collection follows a multiyear project to update the Library’s previous presentation with additional features, full-color images and new material. To celebrate, we’re highlighting items from the Library’s vast […]

Free to Use and Reuse: Classic Children’s Page Turners

This is a guest post by Sasha Dowdy, program specialist in the Library’s Young Readers Center. Ever since I was in elementary school, books have been bridge-builders for me. I am not a native English-speaker—my first language is Russian, and my second is Japanese—so as a child, it was a challenge sometimes to connect with the […]

Free to Use and Reuse: John Margolies Photographs of Roadside America

An earlier version of this post, written by Micah Messenheimer, assistant curator of photography in the Prints and Photographs Division, was published on “Picture This,” the division’s blog. A giant coffee pot that doubles as a restaurant, drive-in movie theaters, old gas pumps and vintage hotels: these are but a few of the examples included […]

Free to Use and Reuse: 19th-Century Portrait Photos

Military brass, senators, socialites and even babies—these are a handful of Washington, D.C., subjects photographed by Charles Milton Bell (1848–93) during the last quarter of the 19th century. The Library recently digitized more than 25,000 glass plate negatives produced by Bell and his successors between 1873 and the early years of the 20th century. The photographs document […]