With the help of our colleagues in the Rare Book Division and in consultation with the Copyright Office, By the People has launched its largest campaign to date!

American Creativity: Early Copyright Title Pages celebrates some of the earliest books published (and some never-published) in the United States. From 1790 through 1870, authors registered copyright by completing a form at the local federal district court, paying a fee, and depositing a printed title page with the court clerk. In 1870, with the passage of the Copyright Act, all of those records were transferred to the Library of Congress. Many of these pages didn't see the light of day until 2020 when the Library digitized the collection.

You might recognize some of the titles in this campaign, but many others have been lost to obscurity or were never actually published. These pages cover every subject imaginable from dramatic plays to religious texts to musical scores, novels, and scientific works. Making these title records more accessible will help historians and book enthusiasts everywhere better understand the early printing history of America.

Start transcribing here and let us know what you find!

A cropped image of a title page