Lady Liberty’s Debut

June 15, 2022

Lady Liberty Arrives

On June 17, 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor.
Although 12M+ immigrants passed under her gaze, she was delivered (and constructed) years before Ellis Island opened.

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), but lack of funds held back production.
  • Eventually, both America and France raised enough money through charity, lottery, & donations to bring “Lady Liberty” to life.
  • Her position faces east, enabling her to welcome incoming ships while looking in the direction of France, her birthplace.

Liberty & Immigration

  • The 151-foot-tall Statue of Liberty wasn’t fully reassembled until 1886, when Pres. Grover Cleveland dedicated the statue in front of a crowd of thousands.
  • Immigration wasn’t the sole focus of statue – it was designed to celebrate America’s freedom and democracy.
  • 1892: Ellis Island Immigration Station opened.
  • The famous poem “Give me your tired, your poor…” was written in 1883 to raise funds for the statue, and inscribed on its base in 1903.

Did you know? France gifted Lady Liberty’s “little sister” to the U.S. last summer. The smaller (9 ft. tall & nearly 1,000 lb.) bronze replica retraced the journey made by her “big sister” over 130 years ago. She resides outside of the French ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C.

The original Lady Liberty sits atop a steel support system designed by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel Tower) and Eugene-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc (responsible for the major 19th-century restoration project of Notre-Dame in Paris).

SmartHER FYI: We’ve also seen the date of the arrival of the Statue of Liberty attributed to June 19, 1885. We’re following the history according to the official site of the Statue of Liberty and the National Park Service, which has cared for Statue of Liberty since 1933.

Ellis Island Foundation: The Statue of Liberty

National Park Service: The Statue of Liberty

Library of Congress: The Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty’s ‘Little Sister’ Comes to DC to Celebrate US-France Ties (The Washington Diplomat)

For fun: Lady Liberty is currently relaxing at a park across the Hudson (Timeout)

“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!”

by Jenna Lee,