Worldwide Liberty Statue New York Advertisement Postcard
It represents a woman wearing a stola, a radiant crown and sandals, trampling a broken chain, carrying a torch in her raised right hand and a tabula ansata, where the date of the Declaration of Independence JULY IV MDCCLXXVI is inscribed, in her left arm. Standing on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, it welcomes visitors, immigrants, and returning Americans traveling by ship. Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi sculpted the statue and obtained a U.S. patent for its structure. Maurice Koechlin—chief engineer of Gustave Eiffel's engineering company and designer of the Eiffel Tower—engineered the internal structure. The pedestal was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt. Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was responsible for the choice of copper in the statue's construction, and for the adoption of the repoussé technique, where a malleable metal is hammered on the reverse side. The statue is made of a sheathing of pure copper, hung on a framework of steel (originally puddled iron) with the exception of the flame of the torch, which is coated in gold leaf (originally made of copper and later altered to hold glass panes). It stands atop a rectangular stonework pedestal with a foundation in the shape of an irregular eleven-pointed star. The statue is 151 ft (46 m) tall, but with the pedestal and foundation, it is 305 ft (93 m) tall. Worldwide, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable icons of the United States. and for many years it was one of the first glimpses of the United States for millions of immigrants and visitors after ocean voyages from around the world. The statue is the central part of Statue of Liberty National Monument, administered by the National Park Service. The National Monument also includes Ellis Island. Discussions in France over a suitable gift to the United States to mark the Centennial of the American Declaration of Independence were headed by the politician and sympathetic writer of the history of the United States, Édouard René de Laboulaye. French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi was commissioned to design a sculpture with the year 1876 in mind for completion. The idea for the commemorative gift then grew out of the political turmoil which was shaking France at the time. The French Third Republic was still considered as a temporary arrangement by many, who wished a return to monarchism, or to some form of constitutional authoritarianism such as they had known under Napoleon. The idea of giving a colossal representation of republican virtues to a sister republic across the sea served as a focus for the republican cause against other politicians.The first small terracotta model was created in 1870. It is now exhibited at the Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon. The first reduced scale bronze replica was given to the city of Paris by Americans residing in the French capital on May 13, 1885; the statue was originally located in the Place des États-Unis and was moved to the Île des Cygnes in 1889. While on a visit to Egypt that was to shift his artistic perspective from simply grand to colossal, Bartholdi was inspired by the project of the Suez Canal which was being undertaken by Count Ferdinand de Lesseps, who later became a lifelong friend of his. He envisioned a giant lighthouse standing at the entrance to the canal and drew plans for it. It would be patterned after the Roman goddess Libertas, modified to resemble a robed Egyptian peasant, with light beaming out from both a headband and a torch thrust dramatically upward into the skies. Bartholdi presented his plans to the Egyptian Khedive, Isma'il Pasha, in 1867 and, with revisions, again in 1869, but the project was never commissioned because of financial issues then troubling the Ottoman Empire. Meanwhile in France, Bartholdi required the assistance of an engineer to address structural issues associated with designing such a colossal copper sculpture. Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel Tower) was commissioned to design the massive iron pylon and secondary skeletal framework which allows the statue's copper skin to move independently yet stand upright. Eiffel delegated the detailed work to his trusted structural engineer, Maurice Koechlin. Bartholdi had initially planned to have the statue completed and presented to the United States on July 4, 1876, but a late start and subsequent delays prevented it. However, by that time the right arm and torch were completed. This part of the statue was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, where visitors were charged 50 cents to climb the ladder to the balcony. The money raised this way was used to start funding the pedestal. On June 30, 1878, at the Paris Exposition, the completed head of the statue was showcased in the garden of the Trocadéro Palace, while other pieces were on display in the Champs de Mars. Back in the United States, the site, authorized in New York Harbor by an Act of Congress on March 3, 1877, was selected by General William Tecumseh Sherman, who settled on Bartholdi's own choice, then known as Bedloe's Island (named after Isaac Bedloe), where there was already an early 19th century star-shaped fortification named Fort Wood. United States Minister to France Levi P. Morton hammered the first nail in the construction of the statue in Paris on October 24, 1881. On February 18, 1879, Bartholdi was granted a design patent, U.S. Patent D11,023, on "a statue representing Liberty enlightening the world, the same consisting, essentially, of the draped female figure, with one arm upraised, bearing a torch, and while the other holds an inscribed tablet, and having upon the head a diadem, substantially as set forth." The patent described the head as having "classical, yet severe and calm, features," noted that the body is "thrown slightly over to the left so as to gravitate upon the left leg, the whole figure thus being in equilibrium," and covered representations in "any manner known to the glyptic art in the form of a statue or statuette, or in alto-relievo or bass-relief, in metal, stone, terra-cotta, plaster-of-Paris, or other plastic composition." The financing for the statue was completed in France in July 1882. Fund-raising for the pedestal, led by William M. Evarts, proceeded slowly, so publisher Joseph Pulitzer (who established the Pulitzer Prize) opened up the editorial pages of his newspaper, The World, to support the fund raising effort in 1883. Pulitzer used his newspaper to criticize both the rich, who had failed to finance the pedestal construction, and the middle class who were content to rely upon the wealthy to provide the funds. His campaign was an important contribution to the effort, but ultimately Senator Evarts and the American Committee he headed raised the majority of funds for the pedestal. The construction of the statue was completed in France in July 1884. The cornerstone of the pedestal, designed by American architect Richard Morris Hunt, was laid on August 5, 1884, but the construction had to be stopped by lack of funds in January 1885. It was resumed on May 11, 1885 after a renewed fund campaign by Joseph Pulitzer in March 1885. Thirty-eight of the forty-six courses of masonry were yet to be built. The statue arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885 on board the French frigate Isère commanded by Lespinasse De Saune. To prepare for transit, the Statue was reduced to 350 individual pieces and packed in 214 crates. (The right arm and the torch, which were completed earlier, had been exhibited at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, and thereafter at Madison Square in New York City.) Joseph Henderson (pilot) was expressly selected to escort the French Steamer into the New York Harbor to Bedloe's Island. This event and Pilot Henderson's appearance was printed in the New York Times: "Old Pilot Henderson, who jumped from the skylight down on the quarter deck of the Isère." Financing for the pedestal was completed on August 11, 1885 and construction was finished on April 22, 1886. When the last stone of the pedestal was swung into place the masons reached into their pockets and showered into the mortar a collection of silver coins. Built into the pedestal's massive masonry are two sets of four iron girders, connected by iron tie beams that are carried up to become part of Eiffel's framework for the statue itself. Thus, Liberty is integral with her pedestal. The statue, which was stored for eleven months in crates waiting for its pedestal to be finished, was then reassembled in four months. On October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was unveiled by President Grover Cleveland in front of thousands of spectators. (Cleveland, as Governor of the State of New York, had earlier vetoed a bill by the New York legislature to contribute $50,000 to building of the pedestal.) Nearly 10 years after the Statue of Liberty was assembled, the United States donated $10,000,000 USD (adjusted for inflation) to various charities in France. The Statue of Liberty functioned as a lighthouse from 1886 to 1902. At that time the U.S. Lighthouse Board was responsible for its operation. There was a lighthouse keeper and the electric light could be seen for 24 miles (39 km) at sea. As a lighthouse, it is the first in the United States to use electricity; there was also an electric plant on the island to generate power for the light. Wilbur Wright was the first person to fly an airplane around the statue, at waist level, a feat he performed on September 29, 1909 during the Hudson-Fulton Celebration. In 1913 a group of young pilots were graduated from the Moisant School of Aviation based on Long Island. One of the graduates, the Mexican pilot Juan Pablo Aldasoro was selected to perform the first flight above the statue. All of the graduates later on became members of the Early Birds of Aviation. In 1916, floodlights were placed around the base of the statue. Also in 1916, the Black Tom explosion caused $100,000 worth of damage ($1.98 million in 2008 dollars) to the statue, embedding fragmentation and eventually leading to the closing of the torch to visitors. The same year, Gutzon Borglum, sculptor of Mount Rushmore, modified the original copper torch by cutting away most of the copper in the flame, retrofitting glass panes and installing an internal light. After these modifications, the torch severely leaked from rainwater and snow melts, accelerating corrosion inside the statue. President Franklin D. Roosevelt rededicated the Statue of Liberty on its Fiftieth anniversary (October 28, 1936). In 1956, through an Act of Congress, Bedloe's Island was renamed Liberty Island officially, although Liberty Island had been used informally since the turn of the century. As with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument, along with Ellis Island and Liberty Island, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon dedicated the American Museum of Immigration, housed in structural additions to the base of the pedestal on top of what was Fort Wood. In 1984, the Statue of Liberty was added to the list of World Heritage Sites. In 2007, the Statue of Liberty was one of 20 finalists in a competition to name the New Seven Wonders of the World.