On This Day

Lady Liberty Arrives

June 19, 1885


The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor. Although 12M+ immigrants passed under her gaze, she was delivered (and constructed) years before Ellis Island opened.

On This Day

How Did Liberty Arrive?

  • 350 separate pieces; 214 crates.
  • A decade late. France wanted to gift “Liberty Enlightening the World” for the centennial of the Declaration of Independence (1776). Lack of funds held back production.
  • Eventually both USA/FR raised enough $$ through charity, lottery, & donation to bring “Lady Liberty” to life.
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On This Day

Liberty & Immigration

  • Statue of Liberty fully constructed in 1886; immigration wasn’t sole focus of statue, but celebration of American democracy overall.
  • Ellis Island Immigration Station opened in 1892.
  • Famous Lazarus poem “Give me your tired, your poor” written in 1883 to raise funds for the statue; engraved on base 20 years later in 1903.
On This Day

"Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand/ A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame/ Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name/ Mother of Exiles ..." READ FULL POEM:

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Full poem: The New Colossus: https://www.nps.gov/stli/learn/historyculture/colossus.htm
The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “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!”