Century Past Free Online Library is an internet library. Our collections have links to many thousands of free online books, magazines, articles, maps, and images, organized so you can browse by topic.
Our online books are hosted by reputable websites such as the Internet Archive, HathiTrust and Google Books.
Books not in the public domain can be borrowed from the Internet Archive, via this site.
Century Past Collections
We have at least one hundred thousand works of popular fiction, organized by genre. We also have literature, literary criticism, short story collection, readers’ guides, and young people’s fiction. Use this Directory of Fiction Categories to find the right page.
Most entries on our Fiction pages are Collections rather than individual books. Collection entries are search results on Internet Archive for a particular topic. These may be groups of hundreds or even thousands of books, since Internet Archive has over 3 million books. If you use a phone or tablet, you may not be able to view the entire list of books in a collection. See this FAQ for help.
Most books were published from the late 20th century up to about 2016. These modern books, mostly still protected by copyright, can legally be read online or borrowed from the Internet Archive.
Although this free online library doesn’t contain the full range of subjects you would find in a big public library, we have deep collections for a variety of subjects. Most of our non-fiction books are still in copyright, as they were published in the late 20th century up to around five years ago. You can borrow them free and legally when you set up a free log-on at the Internet Archive.
Nearly all nonfiction pages on Century Past have entries for individual books, with descriptions, and ‘Collections‘. Most individual titles were recommended in “Public Library Core Collection: A Selection Guide to Reference Books and Adult Nonfiction“, published by H.W. Wilson.
Collection entries are search results on Internet Archive for a particular topic. These may be groups of hundreds or even thousands of books, since Internet Archive has over 3 million books. If you use a phone or tablet, you may not be able to view the whole list of books in a collection. See this FAQ for help.
We have more than 500 magazine titles, with many thousands of back-issues. Many titles offer current issues. Most of our magazines are from recent years, but some are from as early as the mid-1800s. See “Magazines” in the top menu, where you’ll find links to the subject groups.
We have five pages of website collections of links to newspaper archives, current newspapers, and other current online news sources, with links from regions around the world. See “Newspapers” in the top menu.
Articles & Collections
In the top menu click “Various” and open the “Collections” sub-menu. We currently have about 50 subject pages containing around 2,000 links to articles from newspapers and popular magazines. Over half of these pages are history-related. Also in the ‘Collections’ sub-menu are links to our large online collections of photos, maps, and other kinds of images.
The Great Lakes States Past & Present
The Great Lakes States collection (found in the top menu) is concerned with five states around the U.S. Great Lakes. This collection has 90+ webpages with books & articles on many topics for the states of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and for the entire Great Lakes region. Most books and articles are non-fiction, but we also have a webpage of novels for each Great Lakes state, and pages for maps, periodicals, and documents.
About the Site Owner
My name is Ted Lienhart, and I’m a retired foreign service officer. I have lived in many places, but my roots are in Michigan and Wisconsin, USA. I have a long-standing interest in history, books, and libraries, and I maintain this free online library for readers everywhere.
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Updated: August 10, 2022