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New for ’21: 1925 is Public Domain

As of January 1, 2021 most everything from 1925 entered public domain status. While that Duke University links focuses on some lesser works, we will turn our attention to more important literature that is now available after the Walt Disney Extension.

Among the more well-known comics that started in 1925, and whose first year is now free of copyright, is Ella Cinders (above) and Texas Slim (below). The Etta Kett comic strip also began in 1925 but in December and only a few weeks are now p.d.

Of course many lesser-known comics also debuted in 1925, some that are famous to comic strip fans such as George Storm’s Bound to Win (aka Phil Hardy) and Nicholas Afonsky’s Great Mystery and Adventure Series.

Some comic strips ended in 1925 putting the entire series into public domain.
And, of course, all the years prior to 1925 are p.d.
Comic books in 1925 were not the commonly recognized floppies of today.

A host of editorial cartoons are now available.

Magazines of yesteryears relied much more on illustrations and cartoons than today’s issues, and there are some great examples of both from 1925 now public domain.

Which brings us to the opening image at the top of this page. The New Yorker debuted in 1925 and that year is now public domain. But be aware: someone can’t just bind those issues between hard covers and release the volume as The Complete First Year of The New Yorker. “The New Yorker” is still trademarked and cannot be used as a marketing tool or for profit without permission of Condé Nast. The same applies to quite a number of comic strip titles.

Community Comments

#1 Dave Stephens
January/2/2021
@ 6:32 pm

Fascinating info – 1925 might have lots of the famous John Held Jr. artwork – turns out his HIGH SCHOOL BUDDY started the New Yorker in 1925…! So the first 8 years of The New Yorker prominently featured John Held Jr.’s fantastic artwork – I don’t know about the very first year, but I imagine it would be full of great examples of iconic Jazz Age art…

#2 D. D. Degg
January/2/2021
@ 7:58 pm

Michael Maslin ( https://michaelmaslin.com/new-yorker-cartoonists-a-z/ ) has Held beginning to contribute to The New Yorker in April 1925.

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