Treasure Hunting: My Public Domain Favorites

My Public Domain Favorites

The public domain is a treasure trove of wonderful books, and finding them is truly like a treasure hunt. I spend a fair amount of time searching for free, vintage, public domain books but I also sometimes find gems purely by accident. Not everything in the public domain is living and wonderful, and every era had its twaddle. ;) However, the sheer volume of lovely material for lessons (and simply for enjoyment) in the public domain written in the 19th and 20th centuries is worth the hunt!

Here are some of my absolute favorite public domain finds. I usually have at least half a dozen books from the public domain in our lessons at any given time, and these are all books that I have either used or have read through and scheduled for future lessons. Enjoy! 

 FAQ Where do you find books?

Archive is my favorite resource for public domain books, but I also get books from Google. You can simply search for a title + "public domain" or a title + "pdf" in your internet search engine and filter through the top results. You can also simply search on archive and more often than not, you'll find something worthy! I always search for the names of authors of books that I love, and often find other books.

The Ambleside Online Library has some great books as well. 

The Online Books Page is a great place to search.

Project Gutenberg is full of books as well.

Gateway to the Classics is fun to explore.

Also, I love to follow Public Domain Books for Homeschooling on Facebook.

One more place I love to browse is DIY Homeschooler , free E Books Library.

How do you print these books?

I print them in a variety of ways. I print them at Office Depot and I print smaller books at home sometimes. I use some books straight from my computer or tablet. I also sometimes just print portions of books at a time.

What should I know about public domain books?

The books are:
1. From many different sources

2. In many different formats
Some books are scanned in and some are typed in. Some have multiple copies, and some are harder to find than others. Some are more quality. Make sure that you do a wide search, and explore all of the formats of the book. I always download the PDF version when it's available, but I also explore the other formats if I am going to use a book straight from my device.

***Also, make sure you always do a search on Librivox (download the app!), for a book if you'd like the option to listen to it in audio. I use audio sparingly for lessons, but I do use it. And, for free reading, we LOVE Librivox. 


The Child's Own Grammar,by Alice Bell (Elementary Grammar)  
Grammar Land, by M.L. Nesbitt (Elementary Grammar) 
     *** Free Grammar Land Printable Worksheets
Willy's Grammar, by Mrs. Marcet (Elementary Grammar)
The Art Literature Readers
A Short Grammar of the English Tongue
Wheeler's Graded Studies in Great Authors

Natural History

A Book of Birds, by Carton Moore Park
Bird World , by J.H. Stickney
A Year With the Birds , by Alice E. Ball (bird poetry and nature study)
Adventures of a Grain of Dust, by Hallam Hawksworth (Natural History lessons)
    ***Also Strange Adventures in Nature's Wonderlands and Strange Adventures of a Pebble

Eyes and No Eyes Series , by Arabella Buckley
Our Wonderful World, by Emery Lewis Howe (Natural History lessons) 


A History of the United States , by Cecil Chesterton (middle grades) 
America First, by Lawton Evans
And There Was America, by Roger Duvoisin 
First Book of American History , by Edward Eggleston 
   ***Also, all books by Eggleston (search for his name!)
History of the United States Told in One Syllable Words , by Miss Josephine Pollard
Fifty Famous Stories Retold, by James Baldwin 


School Arithmetic Series, by George Wentworth and David Smith
(continues all the way through high school- even trigonometry!)
Every Day Arithmetic Series, by Franklin S. Hoyt and Harriet Poet
A Practical Primary Arithmetic, by M.C.S. Noble
Elementary Geometry 
Number Stories From Long Ago


The Children's Plutarch , by F.J. Gould (also download The Tales of the Romans)
Ambleside Geography Series, by Charlotte Mason 

The World at Home , by Mary and Elizabeth Kirby


American Fairy Tales, by L. Frank Baum 
Mother Goose in Prose, by L. Frank Baum 
Boston Collection of Kindergarten Stories
Fairy Stories and Fables, by James Baldwin 
    *** Also, all other books by James Baldwin
The Book of Fables and Folk Stories, by Horace Elisha Scudder 
Kindergarten Stories and Morning Talks, by Sara Wiltse 
Nature Myths and Stories, by Flora J. Cooke


Augsburg's Drawing Series 
The American Drawing Book, by J.G.Chapman
Papersloyd, A Handbook for Elementary Grades, by Ednah Anne Rich


French Nursery Rhymes, Poems, Rounds, and Riddles, by C.B.  
Illustrated French Primer, Hachette    


Morning Exercises for All the Year 
If you have public domain treasures that are your favorites, add them in the comments!

May all your days be spent....Delightfully Feasting

Crystin <3 


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