There are a variety of databases and websites that collect online images. Images may be tagged or described in a variety of ways, so search possibilities will vary. ARTStor is probably the most sophisticated site, designed as a slide library, with options for limiting by geographic area and date as well as by subject, medium, etc. Be aware that not all images are free to use without permission. Many sites have an option to limit to those freely available for reuse.
Images can also be found within the online publications that we have. The advanced search features of most of these have options for limiting to articles containing illustrations, cartoons, advertisements, etc.
Of course, you may find illustrations in printed resources too. Scanners are located near the top of the stairs from the West entrance (Speaker's Circle) and our Digital Media and Innovation Lab can help with any formatting issues.
Images, especially if they lean more toward the creative than the factual/documentary, are more protected under copyright than other materials.
If an image was published before 1927, it is in the public domain and free to reuse. Some later images may also be in the public domain, but determining this takes some investigation.
Images found on the internet may be free to reuse, but the default is that they are protected. Some may be designated for reuse under certain conditions through license agreements, such as a Creative Commons license, or a license negotiated by the libraries.
Fair use allows for educational reuse of images, especially if they are the subject of discussion or comment (not just decorative) and if the audience is limited to those in the class for the duration of the course only. If you would like to display or reuse an image for a wider audience, say on an open website, or in a publication, we should check on licensing and permissions. We can help with this.
See our Copyright Guide for more details.