by KATHY MEGYERI
Timed to publish with the opening of the brand-new Statue of Liberty Museum, this official book, published by Rizzoli Electa in conjunction with the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, shares Lady Liberty’s impressive backstory through archival images, maps, text and breathtaking photos.
This beautiful keepsake book will dazzle readers as they learn about the 450,000-pound copper statue (now patinaed to a blue-green), a gift from the people of France.
Designed by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi with assistance from Gustave Eiffel (who built the iconic Paris tower), it soars 305-feet into the air over New York Harbor.
The robed neoclassical sculpture, which draws more than four million visitors a year to Liberty Island, holds a torch above her head with her right hand and, in her left, carries a tablet inscribed with Roman numerals depicting July 4, 1776, the date of the Declaration of Independence.
A broken shackle and chain are at her feet, memorializing the abolition of slavery.
Lady Liberty has since become an icon of freedom, a national park tourism destination and a welcoming beacon to millions of immigrants. She has been the site of political rallies and
demonstrations and is featured in many movies.
But she was harder to conceive than most people realize. Bartholdi struggled for years to raise enthusiasm and money for his future dream gal in America.
It took the help of friend Edouard de Laboulaye (who wished to celebrate the emancipation of four million slaves in the U.S.) and Joseph Pulitzer, publisher of the New York World, to make it all happen.
Finally, in 1885, the statue arrived from France in 350 pieces; it took a year to assemble. President Grover Cleveland dedicated it in 1886 (after 15 minutes of applause from massive crowds) speaking of the light held aloft which “illumines the way to man’s enfranchisement.”
President Ronald Reagan rededicated the monument 100 years later on July 4, 1986, after a multi-million-dollar restoration that included a new torch and flame.
Now, the new $100 million museum, paid for by private donations, celebrates this statue which is held dear by people everywhere.
Whether or not you can personally visit the Lady and see her museum, you will surely enjoy this glossy and informative gem of a book which details an important chapter
in our country’s history.