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About Century Past Free Online Library

About Century Past Free Online Library

Century Past Free Online Library has collections with links to hundreds of thousands of books, magazines, articles, maps, and images. They are organized to help you find materials on your favorite topics.

Most of our books are hosted by Internet Archive. We also have books and magazines from HathiTrust and Google Books.

Everything on this site is free. We do not sell subscriptions or offer any premium services.

Nonfiction Books

Century Past helps you find exactly the books you need from the 4+ million scanned modern books in the Internet Archive’s collection. 1.7 million of them were published since the year 2000. They are nearly all* free to use.

Internet Archive librarians catalog their books using the 8,000-page Library of Congress list of subject headings.   We used Library of Congress subject headings to carry out hundreds of subject searches at Internet Archive, and posted the links.

A visitor to Century Past first uses our Subject Directory or Index to find the webpage covering a broad subject.  We have about 150 Nonfiction webpages. Then they browse through that page, and click on the topics within that subject to open collections (search results) of all the books on each topic.

What you’ll find for each broad subject on a Nonfiction Books page

  • Book Collections – Links to major collections of Internet Archive books in the subject
  • More Collections – Links to collections on more specific topics
  • Suggested Books – Books often recommended for public libraries, with descriptions

Many pages also have Vintage collections of books from the public domain, and collections of modern Textbooks.  Every Fiction and Nonfiction page has a list of Related Pages on Century Past at the bottom.

*See our FAQs for why some Internet Archive books are currently unavailable for loan.

Fiction Books

Of the 7.5 million total books – and 4.1 million modern books – held by Internet Archive, at least several hundred thousand are Fiction.  These include popular novels of many genres, literature, short stories, poetry, folklore, children’s stories, and more.  The categories of Fiction are divided up among 40+ webpages on Century Past. Use this Directory of Fiction Categories to find the right page.

Nearly all entries on our Fiction pages are Collections rather than individual books.  Collection entries are search results on Internet Archive for a particular topic.  Links to broad topics may lead to collections of over 1,000 books.

Most Internet Archive books were published from the late 20th century up to 2017.  These modern books are mostly still protected by copyright, but can be read online or borrowed. See our FAQs for why some Internet Archive books are not currently available for loan.


We have more than 500 magazine titles, with many thousands of back-issues.  Some 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 30+ subject pages.


We have five pages of website collections of links to newspaper archives, and to major link collections for current newspapers and other online news sources. Each page covers a different region of the world. See “Newspapers” in the top menu of every page.

Articles and Collections

In the top menu click ‘Articles-Maps-Photos’. 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 on the ‘Articles- Maps-Photos‘ page are links to pages with large online collections of photos, maps, and other kinds of images.

The Great Lakes States Past and Present

The Great Lakes States collection (found in the top menu under ‘More’) 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.

If you enjoy Century Past, please share it.

Updated: June 3, 2024

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