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The Sweet Public Domain: Honey Bunch & Copyright:

Celebrating 1923 with works by Helen Louise Thorndyke


Welcome to The Sweet Public Domain: Honey Bunch and Copyright, a digital exhibit to celebrate the public domain, creative reuse, and copyright law with Helen Louise Thorndyke's Honey Bunch series. 

Starting in January 2019, hundreds of thousands of works will enter the public domain every year, beginning with those published in 1923. While Google Books and HathiTrust stand at the ready, making digitizations available for researchers and your reading pleasure, here at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, we wanted to do our part to add to the collection.

Collective memory and scholarship only has room for so much. While some works deserve to be forgotten, others are in danger of being lost to our culture simply due to lack of access. Out of print, out of mind—captive to copyright.

Searching through the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, we found just what we were looking for—the beloved Honey Bunch series, from the Stratemeyer Syndicate. The Stratemeyers would soon be known for the adventures of Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, and the Bobbsey twins, but in 1923, they published a series of firsts, the simple and entrancing experiences of a child—Just a Little Girl, Her First Visit to the City, and Her First Days on the Farm, all published under the pseudonym "Helen Louise Thorndyke."

Copyright & Public Domain

copyright & the public domain

Learn more about the sweet public domain from Sara Benson, copyright librarian at U of I and Kirby Ferguson, writer, filmmaker, and producer of the series Everything is a Remix.

Go to Copyright & Public Domain

The Honey Bunch Books

the honey bunch books

Explore the series, digitized for the first time. Drawing mainly from the New York public Library's Digital CollectionsHer First Visit to the City has been illustrated with images from the public domain.

​Go to Honey Bunch Books

Girls' Series Fiction & Honey Bunch

Girls' Series Fiction and Honey Bunch

Discover more about the Honey Bunch series and the Stratemeyer Syndicate with essays by LuElla D'Amico, author of Girls' Series Fiction and American Popular Culture (2017) and Deidre Johnson author of Stratemeyer Pseudonyms and Series Books (1982) and Edward Stratemeyer and the Stratemyer Syndicate (1993).

Go to Girls' Series Fiction & Honey Bunch



This project was developed by the office of Scholarly Communication and Publishing at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

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