Statue of Liberty dedicated

Statue of Liberty dedicated

The Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States, is dedicated in New York Harbor by President Grover Cleveland.

Originally known as “Liberty Enlightening the World,” the statue was proposed by the French historian Edouard de Laboulaye to commemorate the Franco-American alliance during the American Revolution. Designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the 151-foot statue was the form of a woman with an uplifted arm holding a torch. Its framework of gigantic steel supports was designed by Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, the latter famous for his design of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

READ MORE: How the Statue of Liberty Became an Icon

In February 1877, Congress approved the use of a site on New York Bedloe’s Island, which was suggested by Bartholdi. In May 1884, the statue was completed in France, and three months later the Americans laid the cornerstone for its pedestal in New York Harbor. In June 1885, the dismantled Statue of Liberty arrived in the New World, enclosed in more than 200 packing cases. Its copper sheets were reassembled, and the last rivet of the monument was fitted on October 28, 1886, during a dedication presided over by President Cleveland and attended by numerous French and American dignitaries.

In 1903, a bronze plaque mounted inside the pedestal's lower level was inscribed with “The New Colossus,” a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus that welcomed immigrants to the United States with the declaration, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. / I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

In 1892, Ellis Island, adjacent to Bedloe’s Island, opened as the chief entry station for immigrants to the United States, and for the next 32 years more than 12 million immigrants were welcomed into New York harbor by the sight of “Lady Liberty.” In 1924, the Statue of Liberty was made a national monument, and in 1956 Bedloe’s Island was renamed Liberty Island. The statue underwent a major restoration in the 1980s.

READ MORE: Immigration at Ellis Island: Photos


History of the Statue of Liberty: Construction, Architecture and Restoration

Suez Lighthouse Model figurine, c. 1980

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

The museum collection includes Statue of Liberty-related items, beginning with Bartholdi's 1871 Statue of Liberty proposal to the United States, the fundraising events for the original construction in the 1880's, and the 1980's restoration.

Reproductions of Bartholdi's study models (maquettes) from the Musee Bartholdi collection are in the museum collection, including a reproduction of Bartholdi's earliest study for the Statue. Some statue in the collection are original items that were manufactured and sold for the purpose of raising money for construction of the Statue.

An American Committee fundraising statuette

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

Beginning in the 1880s, the American Committee of the Statue of Liberty was responsible for raising funds to pay for the construction of the pedestal and installation of the Statue. Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the newspaper The World, spearheaded the sale of models of the Statue of Liberty to the public through his newspaper. Beginning in 1885, Pulitzer began advertising the sale of these models to be sold to the public in two sizes a 12-inch model for five dollars and a 6-inch model for one dollar. The museum collection includes several of these original American Committee models.

Original letters addressed to Joseph Pulitzer are included in the museum collection and indicate that raising of funds for the construction of the pedestal was not a simple task, as illustrated in the 23 March 1886 letter written by American Committee treasurer Henry Foster Spaulding concerning the dire need for funds to continue the work of constructing the Pedestal.

A letter addressed to Joseph Pulitzer from Henry Foster Spaulding regarding funding for the pedestal and a request for $11,000, March 23, 1886

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

A mallet used in the process of hammering in rivets

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

While under the control of the United States Army in the 1920s, the Statue of Liberty was in need of repair. One of the workers assigned to the project was a craftsman, Kenneth Lynch, who was knowledgeable with repousse techniques. According to Mr. Lynch, he was asked to repair damage to the Statue caused by the Black Tom explosion (created by German saboteurs to a warehouse and pier in New Jersey during World War I). Quartered by the Army in the old barracks on Bedloe's Island. Mr. Lynch and other workmen made the needed repairs. In 1975, Mr. Lynch, now head of his own company, donated the tools used for this repair work: two 6-foot wood hammers for supporting unreachable areas from inside as the rivets were hammered into the copper sheets from the outside.

A hard hat of a steel metal worker used during the 1980s restoration of the Statue of Liberty

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

By the 1980s, a major restoration of the Statue was needed. The restoration involved approximately 1,000 workers from many different trades who proudly displayed their union affiliation and contribution on their clothing and equipment. Some of the workers generously donated their decorative attire to the museum collection. The engineering and architectural work on the 1980s restoration of the Statue is extensively documented and all reports are available for research in the museum archives and library.

Reflected lenses used in the Statue of Liberty's original torch c. 1934

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

The 1980s restoration replaced the original cast iron armatures with stainless steel bars and a decision was made to replace the original torch. The newly manufactured torch with copper repousse work and gold gilding on the flame was installed on 25 November 1985. The original torch, with its 250 colored glass plates designed by Gutzon Borglum in 1916 is now on exhibit in the lobby of the pedestal. The lighthouse fresnel lens once used in the torch was removed and is now in museum storage.

A brass pin with the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation logo commemorating the centennial of the Statue of Liberty, 1986

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

The task of raising funds for the Statue of Liberty's 1980's restoration was undertaken by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation headed by former Chrysler Corporation President Lee Iacocca. As in the 1880's, the sale of Statue of Liberty related items was used to raise funds and many of these items used the Foundation's logo.

A Handbill from the Statue of Liberty Restaurant

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

Other items related to the multiple uses of Liberty (Bedloe) Island over time are a menu used by an early restaurant serving food to visitors and a postcard with an aerial view of the island in the 1930s, documenting the extensive military use of the island as part of the defense of New York Harbor.

A postcard of Liberty Island and Fort Wood c. 1930s

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

A poster advertising the opening of the American Museum of Immigration c. 1971

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

The military use of Bedloe's Island ended in 1937 when the Department of War turned the island over to the National Park Service. A museum dedicated to the history of immigration to the United States was proposed and built inside the pedestal of the Statue in the 1960s. The completed museum, called the American Museum of Immigration (AMI) opened to the public in 1972 and was administered by NPS curators until 1991 when it closed after the opening of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. The administrative and business files of AMI and items associated with its development and operation are in the museum archives and collection.

The museum objects once exhibited in the AMI are now part of the museum collection and some of these items, such as a wood plate brought by an immigrant from Czechoslovakia, are currently on display in the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

Hand-painted wooden plate from Czechoslovakia c. 1923

The Statue of Liberty was originally a symbol of freeing slaves

It's assumed by most that Lady Liberty represented a celebration of immigration. But history has since proven that the gift was originally meant not only to highlight enlightenment and democracy but to symbolize freedom from slavery.

Laboulaye organized a meeting with French abolitionists in 1865 at his home in Versailles. According to Edward Berenson, a history professor at New York University, "they talked about the idea of creating some kind of commemorative gift that would recognize the importance of the liberation of the slaves." The Statue of Liberty was modeled after the Roman goddess Libertas, who traditionally wore the type of cap worn by freed Roman slaves.

But Laboulaye's original vision, along with commissioned statue artist Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi's designs, seemed to get lost as the years of fundraising for the statue continued. Black newspapers criticized the symbolic gesture as empty and hypocritical. By 1886, when the statue finally made its debut, civil rights protections were already being rolled back, and the Jim Crow era was on the horizon.

A series of retrieved sketches and clay models created between 1870-1871 shows broken chains at the female figure's feet, with an additional broken chain in her left hand. The final result still shows a small broken chain at her feet, partially covered by her ensemble, but it often goes unnoticed.


Oral History Collection

Ellis Island Oral History Project interview subject holding her wedding photograph.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

Since 1973, the Ellis Island Oral History Program has been dedicated to preserving the first-hand recollections of immigrants who passed through the Ellis Island immigration station between 1982 and 1954 and the employees who worked there.

Interviews with immigrants include a description of everyday life in the country of origin, family history, reasons for emigration, journey to New York, arrival and processing at Ellis Island, and adjustment to life in the United States.

Over the years, the collection has grown to approximately 2,000 interviews. The interviews represent immigrants from dozens of countries, former Immigration and Public Health Service employees, military personnel stationed at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty as well as people detained at Ellis Island during World War II until it closed in 1954. Approximately 900 of the Ellis Island Oral History interviews are available to researchers and interested members of the public in the Oral History Library, located on the third floor of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

People wishing to use the complete interviews, both as recordings or on-screen transcripts may do so by using the specially designed computer stations in this room. Simple instructions found on the computer screen assist the user with locating any desired interviews and pertinent information. These computers contain the oral history interviews only and do not contain general immigration records such as ship manifests, passports etc. Approximately twenty interviews are added yearly by full time and volunteer staff members. Each person interviewed receives a tape of the interview.

For further information about the Ellis Island Oral History Program, please write to: Oral History Program, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, New York City, NY, 10004 or call (646) 356-2159 and E-mail: STLI_Oral e-mail us

Oral history interview being conducted by park oral historian.

The Statue of Liberty was created to celebrate freed slaves, not immigrants, its new museum recounts

The new Statue of Liberty Museum in New York Harbor boasts a number of treasures: the original torch, which was replaced in the 1980s an unoxidized (read: not green) copper replica of Lady Liberty’s face and recordings of immigrants describing the sight of the 305-foot monument.

It also revives an aspect of the statue’s long-forgotten history: Lady Liberty was originally designed to celebrate the end of slavery, not the arrival of immigrants. Ellis Island, the inspection station through which millions of immigrants passed, didn’t open until six years after the statue was unveiled in 1886. The plaque with the famous Emma Lazarus poem — “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” — wasn’t added until 1903.

“One of the first meanings [of the statue] had to do with abolition, but it’s a meaning that didn’t stick,” Edward Berenson, a history professor at New York University and author of the book “The Statue of Liberty: A Transatlantic Story,” said in an interview with The Washington Post.

The monument, which draws 4.5 million visitors a year, was first imagined by a man named Édouard de Laboulaye. In France, he was an expert on the U.S. Constitution and, at the close of the American Civil War, the president of a committee that raised and disbursed funds to newly freed slaves, according to Yasmin Sabina Khan, author of the book “Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty.”

Laboulaye loved America — often giving speeches described by a New York Times correspondent in 1867 as “feasts of liberty which move the souls of men to their deepest depths” — and he loved it even more when slavery was abolished.

In June 1865, Laboulaye organized a meeting of French abolitionists at his summer home in Versailles, Berenson said.

“They talked about the idea of creating some kind of commemorative gift that would recognize the importance of the liberation of the slaves,” Berenson said.

Laboulaye secured the partnership of sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, who took his sweet time developing an idea. An early model, circa 1870, shows Lady Liberty with her right arm in the position we are familiar with, raised and illuminating the world with a torch. But in her left hand she holds broken shackles, an homage to the end of slavery.

(A terra cotta model still survives at the Museum of the City of New York.)

One theory has her face being adapted from a statue Bartholdi had proposed for the Suez Canal, meaning her visage could resemble that of an Egyptian woman. The Times reported she was based on the Roman goddess Libertas, who typically wore the type of cap worn by freed Roman slaves.

In the final model, Lady Liberty holds a tablet inscribed with the Roman numerals for July 4, 1776. The broken chains are still there though, beneath her feet, “but they’re not all that visible,” Berenson said.

Bartholdi made a number of trips to the U.S. to whip up support for his colossal structure, according to the National Park Service. And sailing into New York Harbor, he spotted the perfect location for it: Bedloe’s Island, then occupied by the crumbling Fort Wood.

Fundraising in both France and the United States took a while, and according to the NPS, Bartholdi cast the project in the broadest terms possible to widen the net of potential donors. He also built the torch-bearing arm to tour around and inspire people to open up their wallets.

Bartholdi finished building the statue in Paris in 1884. Two years later, he oversaw its reconstruction in New York. “Liberty Enlightening the World” was “unveiled” on Oct. 28, 1886 — but that did not involve a very big sheet. Instead, there were fireworks, a military parade, and Bartholdi climbing to the top and pulling a French flag from his muse’s face.

By then, “the original meaning of the abolition of slavery had pretty much gotten lost,” Berenson said, going unmentioned in newspaper coverage.

In fact, black newspapers railed against it as meaningless and hypocritical. By 1886, Reconstruction had been crushed, the Supreme Court had rolled back civil rights protections, and Jim Crow laws were tightening their grip.

In his book, Berenson quotes an 1886 editorial in the black newspaper the Cleveland Gazette: “Shove the Bartholdi statue, torch and all, into the ocean until the ‘liberty’ of this country is such as to make it possible for an industrious and inoffensive colored man in the South to earn a respectable living for himself and family … The idea of the ‘liberty’ of this country ‘enlightening the world,’ or even Patagonia, is ridiculous in the extreme.”


While You Are Ringing In The Summer, Don't Forget To Remember The Importance Of What We Have Off For.

Home of the free because of the brave.

"The American flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies from the last breath of each solider who died protecting it."

On this present day in America, we currently have over 1.4 million brave men and women actively listed in the armed forces to protect and serve our country.

Currently there is an increased rate of 2.4 million retiree's from the US military

Approximately, there has been over 3.4 million deaths of soldiers fighting in wars.

Every single year, everyone look's forward to Memorial Day Weekend, a weekend where beaches become overcrowded, people fire up them grills for a fun sunny BBQ, simply an increase of summer activities, as a "pre-game" before summer begins.

Many American's have forgot the true definition of why we have the privilege to celebrate Memorial Day.

In simple terms, Memorial Day is a day to pause, remember, reflect and honor the fallen who died protecting and serving for everything we are free to do today.

Thank you for stepping forward, when most would have stepped backwards.

Thank you for the times you missed with your families, in order to protect mine.

Thank you for involving yourself, knowing that you had to rely on faith and the prayers of others for your own protection.

Thank you for being so selfless, and putting your life on the line to protect others, even though you didn't know them at all.

Thank you for toughing it out, and being a volunteer to represent us.

Thank you for your dedication and diligence.

Without you, we wouldn't have the freedom we are granted now.

I pray you never get handed that folded flag. The flag is folded to represent the original thirteen colonies of the United States. Each fold carries its own meaning. According to the description, some folds symbolize freedom, life, or pay tribute to mothers, fathers, and children of those who serve in the Armed Forces.

As long as you live, continuously pray for those families who get handed that flag as someone just lost a mother, husband, daughter, son, father, wife, or a friend. Every person means something to someone.

Most Americans have never fought in a war. They've never laced up their boots and went into combat. They didn't have to worry about surviving until the next day as gunfire went off around them. Most Americans don't know what that experience is like.

However, some Americans do as they fight for our country every day. We need to thank and remember these Americans because they fight for our country while the rest of us stay safe back home and away from the war zone.

Never take for granted that you are here because someone fought for you to be here and never forget the people who died because they gave that right to you.

So, as you are out celebrating this weekend, drink to those who aren't with us today and don't forget the true definition of why we celebrate Memorial Day every year.

"…And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice."


Statue of Liberty dedicated

In February 1877, Congress approved the use of a site on New York Bedloe’s Island, which was suggested by Bartholdi. In May 1884, the statue was completed in France, and three months later the Americans laid the cornerstone for its pedestal in New York Harbor. In June 1885, the dismantled Statue of Liberty arrived in the New World, enclosed in more than 200 packing cases. Its copper sheets were reassembled, and the last rivet of the monument was fitted on October 28, 1886, during a dedication presided over by President Cleveland and attended by numerous French and American dignitaries.

On the pedestal was inscribed “The New Colossus,” a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus that welcomed immigrants to the United States with the declaration, “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. / I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” In 1892, Ellis Island, adjacent to Bedloe’s Island, opened as the chief entry station for immigrants to the United States, and for the next 32 years more than 12 million immigrants were welcomed into New York harbor by the sight of “Lady Liberty.” In 1924, the Statue of Liberty was made a national monument, and in 1956 Bedloe’s Island was renamed Liberty Island. The statue underwent a major restoration in the 1980s.


The Statue of Liberty Was Originally Designed as an Egyptian Woman

Due to its rich archeological history, Egypt is well-known as a home to various colossi statues depicting ancient rulers. Most travellers to Egypt easily recognize this when visiting the Colossi of Memnon, seated proudly on the West Bank of the Nile in Luxor, or when standing small before the seated statues fronting the Temple of Abu Simbel.

As such, it would come as no surprise that this land, with its distinct identity and cultural wealth, would inspire the building of modern-day structures and monuments.

One such surprising project would be the towering Statue of Liberty located on New York’s Liberty Island. While it may be incredibly far-fetched at first, evidence points that the statue’s design was not originally intended to grace the US’ shores, but actually, to find itself nestled in the city of Port Said in Egypt.

The Statue of Liberty was designed by French artist and sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who, after visiting Egypt in 1855 with a group of Orientalist painters, decided to create a colossal statue intended to rival Egypt’s ancient ones, namely one of the most iconic statue of the Giza Plateau, the Sphinx.

The statue, which was meant to stand at the northern entrance to the Suez Canal, was anticipated as a grand project symbolizing the country’s burgeoning industrial development, steps towards Europeanization and social advances which Bartholdi pitched to the Egyptian government, especially Khedive Ismail.

“Bartholdi’s working title was Egypt Bringing Light to Asia, and he designed the figure of a ninety-foot-tall Egyptian peasant woman, her arm upraised, with a torch in hand,” narrates Peter Hessler in his book, The Buried.

A fellaha is a female field-worker or farmer often clad in a robe of cotton called ‘galabeya’. In the past, a fellaha often covered her face with a piece of cloth but modern-day felahin in Egypt have adapted to modern-day of clothing, with many simply wearing a veil, niqab or a kerchief over the head.

Bartholdi’s figure was designed as robed fellaha, either bearing a torch in her hand, or in the typical fashion of Upper Egyptian women, atop her head. Egypt Bringing Light to Asia would also stand, like a familiar figure welcoming ships home, as a lighthouse.

As for its replacement, the simple Port Said lighthouse was designed by French industrialist François Coignet.


Watch the video: Statue of Liberty u0026 Ellis Island - 2 minute HD tour