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Artstor Digital Library

The Legal Genealogist is a huge fan of JSTOR, the digitial library that serves as a front end for access to academic journal articles, books, and primary sources in a whole range of disciplines.

No, it’s not free — it’s even downright expensive compared to some other services, at $19.50 a month or $199 a year, discounted for new users to $179. But it’s worth it when you’re doing lots of research on esoteric topics.

You know.

Like law.

Now I have — and we all have — an even bigger reason to be enthusiastic about JSTOR. It’s called Artstor, and it’s a free (yes, free) digital library of images:

Artstor is a nonprofit organization committed to enhancing scholarship and teaching through the use of digital images and media. The Artstor Digital Library includes millions of high-quality images for education and research across disciplines from a wide variety of contributors around the world. We also developed JSTOR Forum, software that allows institutional users to catalog, manage, and distribute digital media collections and make them more discoverable.

Our primary goals are to support educational and scholarly activities by assembling image collections from across many cultures and eras, and to work with the arts and educational communities to develop collective solutions to the challenges of working and teaching with images in a digital environment.1

Now there are two levels of access, and we’re only dealing here with the public access version — and that’s not too shabby: more than one million images. And they’re free for all kinds of non-commercial use.2 (Of course, always read the rights comments — any individual image may have more restrictions.)

What kinds of images?

New Castle Courthouse

Well, I did a search for “courthouse” and got 201 images ranging from the New Castle Courthouse in Delaware, photographed in the 1930s and in the Special Collections, University of Delaware Library / Newark, Delaware (pictured above), to the Royal Courts of Justice Law Courts in Edinburgh.

Artstor — free access to images we can use.

Check it out.


  1. Mission and History,” Artstor ( : accessed 14 Aug 2018).
  2. Ibid., “Artstor Terms and Conditions of Use.”
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