Another question concerns the use of old photographs - when can they be used?
1. Virtually all photographs published in the US before January 1923 are now in the public domain. http://www.unc.edu/~unclng/public-d.htm.
2. Fair Use generally allows the use of quotes for specific purposes. http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-fairuse.html. But as for novels and such, the discussion above notes that copyright laws do apply.
Specifically, the government says:
How much of someone else's work can I use without getting permission?
Under the fair use doctrine of the U.S. copyright statute, it is permissible to use limited portions of a work including quotes, for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports. There are no legal rules permitting the use of a specific number of words, a certain number of musical notes, or percentage of a work. Whether a particular use qualifies as fair use depends on all the circumstances. See FL 102, Fair Use, and Circular 21, Reproductions of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians.