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Works In The Public Domain for 2011 That You Might Have Missed

Updated on November 17, 2020
RachaelOhalloran profile image

I enjoy writing about many different subjects. Famous people fascinate me and I enjoy bringing their stories to my readers.

What Works Entered Public Domain in 2011?

Rachael O'Halloran
Rachael O'Halloran

Which Works Are In Public Domain?

I've been getting a few questions lately about exactly which works are put into Public Domain on January 1 of each year. For explanation purposes: Public Domain is not all about just getting to use something for free. There is a difference between being granted the right to use something and getting it for free.

What I want you to understand is that although the works are free to use, on Public Domain day, supporters of Public Domain do not want free copies - that's not what they really want.

They want for everyone to be able to use these works to create new works based on them without worry of copyright infringement accusations or worry about being sued. That is the spirit of Public Domain Day.

Keeping that in mind, this is the first hub in a series detailing copyright expiration dates on specific works which now puts them in the public domain.

Since this hub pertains to the year 2011, any author who died before December 31, 1940 will have work that entered the public domain on January 1, 2011.

This is not a full and comprehensive list. This is just research I have found in my travels through databases and websites.

Always check to make sure a copyright has truly expired before you assume the work is in the public domain. If you see a listing here, feel free to correct me. I strive for accuracy above all.

Even though the following works ARE in the public domain now, and while in most countries it is okay to download or in some way incorporate them into another work, you must abide by your country's laws, especially in Canada where their new copyright law went into effect in June 2014, restricting downloading and keeping copies.

Hopefully you will find something of interest from the past to inspire you to take the leap to create a new work for the future.

The Public Domain Authors You Won't Read About

Because we are programmed to look for "brand name" authors, we often don't even notice the other names of authors on lists of 1940s deaths. Their work also came into public domain, just with slightly less fanfare. :)

By the sheer fact that they were an author, they should get our recognition. And who knows? One of their works just might be the gem you are looking for to incorporate into your own masterpiece.

There are a lot of links in this article for your clicking pleasure. Bookmark and come back when you have time or you will be lost for a few hours at the minimum. I know I was. lol

F Scott Fitzgerald Died in 1940

Authors Died in 1940

Book titles are included because sometimes you know the work and not the author's name. :) The links will take you to any one of these sites: Wikipedia, literary websites, biographical information, or public domain sites.

F. Scott Fitzgerald - one of the greatest American authors of the 20th century

Birthplace: St. Paul, Minnesota, US Died: December 21, 1940 US Law Applies

Some of his works include:


  • This Side of Paradise (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920)
  • The Beautiful and Damned (New York: Scribners, 1922)
  • The Great Gatsby (New York: Scribners, 1925)
  • Tender Is the Night (New York: Scribners, 1934)
  • The Love of the Last Tycoon – originally The Last Tycoon – (New York: Scribners, unfinished, published posthumously, 1941)


  • The Diamond as Big as the Ritz (1922) (in Tales of the Jazz Age)
  • May Day (1922) (in Tales of the Jazz Age)

Short story collections

  • Flappers and Philosophers (New York: Scribners, 1921)
  • Tales of the Jazz Age (New York: Scribners, 1922)
  • All the Sad Young Men (New York: Scribners, 1926)
  • Taps at Reveille (New York: Scribners, 1935)
  • The Pat Hobby Stories (Esquire Magazine, 1940–41)

Notable short stories

  • "Bernice Bobs Her Hair" (1920) (in Flappers and Philosophers)
  • "Head and Shoulders" (1920) (in Flappers and Philosophers)
  • "The Ice Palace" (1920) (in Flappers and Philosophers and Babylon Revisited and Other Stories)
  • "The Offshore Pirate" (1920) (in Flappers and Philosophers)
  • "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (1921) (in Tales of the Jazz Age)
  • "Winter Dreams" (1922) (in All the Sad Young Men)
  • "The Baby Party" (1925) (in All the Sad Young Men)
  • "The Rich Boy" (1926) (in All the Sad Young Men)
  • "The Freshest Boy" (1928) (in Taps at Reveille)
  • "The Bridal Party" (1930)
  • "A New Leaf" (1931)
  • "Babylon Revisited" (1931) (in Babylon Revisited and Other Stories)
  • "Crazy Sunday" (1932) (in Babylon Revisited and Other Stories)
  • His short story, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", was the basis for a 2008 film.

Walter Benjamin -a German literary critic, philosopher, social critic, translator, radio broadcaster and essayist. A more complete list of his works, including essays, appears at this link and this link, with commentary.

Birthplace: Berlin, German Empire Died: September 26, 1940 EU Law Applies

Some of his works are:

  • Zur Kritik der Gewalt (Critique of Violence, 1921)
  • Goethes Wahlverwandtschaften (Goethe's Elective Affinities, 1922)
  • Ursprung des deutschen Trauerspiels (The Origin of German Tragic Drama, 1928)
  • Einbahnstraße (One Way Street, 1928)
  • Karl Kraus (1931 in the Frankfurter Zeitung)
  • Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit (The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936)
  • Berliner Kindheit um 1900 (Berlin Childhood around 1900, 1950)
  • Über den Begriff der Geschichte (On the Concept of History / Theses on the Philosophy of History), 1940
  • Das Paris des Second Empire bei Baudelaire (The Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire, 1938)

Isaac Babel, - By his 30's, Babel was one of the most well-loved writers in the Soviet Union, but his loyalty was questioned. Add into the mix that he was Jewish, the Russians became suspicious. He was arrested in 1939, charged as a spy for Austria and France and for being a member of some unnamed terrorist organization.

He denied all and his guilt was never proven. A year or so after his arrest, he was executed by "torture to death." His writings were illegal for years after.

In 1954, thirteen years after his death, he was declared "posthumously rehabilitated." Isn't that the most ridiculous thing you ever heard? Anyway, his stories are widely read and well respected again.

Birthplace: Odessa, Russia. Died: January 27, 1940 - EU Law Applies

Author of books:

  • Red Cavalry (1926, short stories)
  • Collected Stories (1955, short stories, posthumous)
  • You Must Know Everything: Stories, 1915-1937 (1969, short stories, posthumous)
  • Isaac Babel: The Collected Stories (1994, short stories, posthumous)
  • The Complete Works of Isaac Babel (2002, short stories, posthumous)

This list of authors and this list of authors died in 1940 and works are now in public domain.

If some of these names who died in 1940 are not familiar to you, research a few and you may find you are familiar with some of their works. :)

Must See: How To Find Free Public Domain Pictures On Google

Rachael O'Halloran's Guide To Cool Stuff™


  • This is a FREE software program for novel writing creates a storyboard view so you can see your book on a layout. It lets you break your book up into chapters and scenes for easy locating, editing, and flagging. It shows viewpoint of characters, goals, conflicts and outcome fields for each scene. It has a tracking program to keep track of your progress (xx pages or words per day) and the tools for you to use to create an autobackup that saves your work and timestamps it.

Canada ONLY -

  • The full transcript regarding the new changes in Canada's copyright law can be read at this link.

Gutenberg Project - free e-books

  • over 45,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online.


  • Book catalogue software. Enter all your books with author, category, publisher etc and print them out in a variety of formats. Also includes library features - borrowers, multiple copies of the same book, loans, etc.

Articles on Writing by Hal Spacejock

  • First draft to publication
  • The Act of Writing
    • How to plot a novel
    • How to write a novel
    • Writing children's fiction
    • How to beat writer's block
    • How to write a query letter
    • How to work with an editor
    • Books on writing

How To Write A Perfect Query Letter

Consider these questions:

  • Who is the protaganist?
  • What dilemma does he face?
  • How does it get resolved?

Answer each question in less than 25 words. That's the skeleton for a good query letter. It may not be your finished version, but it will give you the bone structure you need.
If you CAN'T do that...your novel needs the work then, not the query. Article and advice at the link.

How Can I Tell If A Copyright Has Been Renewed? - good info from University of Pennsylvania.

Are You Lost? Try The Wayback Machine

Not sure what you are looking for? All you have to do is know what it sounds like, if it is audio, video or in text and you can use the Wayback Machine to help you on your quest.

Author List

Here is a mixed list of notable people who died in 1940.

This is a list of authors who died in 1940, far too comprehensive to make a chart to place in this hub. Please click and take a look. TY


Have you ever wondered who the famous name was being a pseudonym? Of course, I found a list for that! Here is a list from the 1920s and while you are there, click the link to go over the list of more current authors from the 1970s.

These names come from copyright records where authors must give their real name when applying for copyright.

US Registered Copyrights

This is a list of every book registered or renewed for copyright in the US Copyright office from 1870 to 2013.

This is a great tool to use if you want to contact a copyright owner to ask permission about an old work, use this list to find out who registered the copyright, and what permissions are granted.

This is a blast from the past. You can look up works published after 1922 which are now in the public domain.

Unlike the rest of the material discussed in this article, the year 1941 does not apply to works published in the US before 1964 which were not registered or renewed. They are now in public domain. But some works that were first published outside the US might not have had to be renewed at all and they won't be in public domain unless stated by EU Law.

Have fun scrolling through this piece of history.

Poland 1941

You can read what came into public domain in 1941 in Poland here and here.

Australia - Free e-books

Here is a link to free e-books via Gutenberg Press

List of Copyright Renewals

It wasn't done often because most authors forgot about it, but some went out of their way to renew their copyrights. All others let them lapse and their work went into public domain at the prescribed time. Here is the "downloadable" list of renewals by year.

Other Compositions

Although I have focused mainly on literary works, there were many other works that came into public domain - music, screenplays, films, poetry, to name a few.

Spend an afternoon looking to see what is available to you in the public domain. It is a nice way to research and learn a little bit of history too.

It's Your Future!


Thank You For Reading

I hope you find some useful tools, especially in the Cool Stuff section and that you will try your hand at spinning a new story from an old tale. Good Luck.

Rachael O'Halloran, June 15, 2014

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Rachael O'Halloran


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