More and more copyright-free images and illustrations are available freely online without a library card. Many of these initiatives are driven by libraries and various other government institutions. As they should be.
The British Library’s archive on Flickr includes over a million free images and illustrations. They are drawn from 17th, 18th and 19-century books in the Library’s collection, located in the main building in London. The archive is divided into themes including, among many others, Women of the World, Decorations & Design, Space & SciFi, Architecture, Portraits, Book Covers, Illustrated Lettering, Children’s Book Illustration, Technology & Industry, and Fauna.
For other sites offering free vintages images, consider also the following: