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    « Character and Conflict in Memoir and Family History | Main | Selling Your Self Published Book »

    Finding Illustrations for Your Memoir or Family History Book

    One of the ways digital printing has changed family history and memoir is by making illustrated books easier to create and less expensive to produce.

    One of the first credit cards from the Smithsonian's collection of artifacts.

    A few well chosen images can make your book both more visually attractive and more reflective of the world you are trying to reflect in the text. If you are fortunate, you may have photos in your own collection or that of your family. But for many times and places images may not be readily available. Here are three sources of images that may provide what you are looking for.

    Abraham Lincoln's top hat from the Smithsonian's collection of artifacts.

    Best History Sites

    An award winning portal for history educators that links to over 1200 websites dealing with topics spanning the globe from prehistorical times to the present with specialized lists of site dealing with topics like art history, military history and oral history. Many of the sites listed contain photo collections.

    CriticalPast is one of the world’s largest sources for archival footage including 57,000 videos and over 7 million images. Its images and videos are not free, but some cannot be found anywhere else.

    Smithsonian Institution

    The Smithsonian has images of thousands of museum artifacts from the “Towne of Boston” Flintlock Musket, to a gold nugget said to be the first discovered at Sutter’s Mill triggering the California Gold Rush, to a 1955 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon, the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and the first Apple Macintosh. To access the images, go to the American History Home Page using the link above. Click on the Find Educational Resources button on the bottom right. Then click on the Museum Artifacts tab on the top of the next page.

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    Reader Comments (2)

    I am very interested in these kinds of resrources but always am concerned about violating copyrights. Are the resources in The Best History Sites and the Smithsonian copyright-free?


    Feb 21, 2012 at 12:33PM | Unregistered CommenterLinda Thomas

    The Smithsonian has a policy on use available when you click on "Click here to contact us." Best History Sites lists hundreds of sites. Each site will usually provide some kind of information about its policy regarding using images. It is important to note that there is usually a difference in policy when you want to use an image for commercial purposes from when you want to use them privately. So your goals for your book make a difference.

    Feb 21, 2012 at 7:27PM | Registered CommenterNan Barnes

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