Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Statue of Liberty in Madison Square Park

The arm and torch of the Statue of Liberty in Madison Square Park, New York. These portions of the Statue were exhibited to raise funds for the completion of the statue and its pedestal. The arm and torch remained in the park from 1876 until 1882.

Members of the public could pay fifty cents to climb to the balcony of the torch.

next episode: a major general


  1. Great photos. It would be neat to somehow hear the comments that people made when they discussed the future statue.

  2. I didn't know they took this step in the construction. I love the top picture with the giant hand emerging in the city.

  3. I didn’t know either! It's mentioned in a book I’m reading: ‘Time and Again’ by Jack Finney. It is about a man who is travelling back in time to 19th century New York City.

    This is what a 19th century character says about it in the book: “The entire statue is to be erected in the harbour someday,” she said without interest. “If they should ever decide where. And manage to collect enough money to do so. No one seems interested in paying for it; some say it will never go up.”

  4. I would have loved to have seen it in person, but the photos of the statues torch is amazing enough.

  5. From Matthew Goodman’s 2013 “Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World”
    Her official name was Liberty Enlightening the World, but she was most often referred to simply as "Bartholdi's statue." The Alsatian sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi had originally meant for her to stand at the entrance to the Suez Canal, where, in the veil and dress of an Egyptian peasant woman, she would have held up a lantern that symbolized the light of Egypt bringing progress to Asia. That plan, however, had been rejected by Egypt's ruler Khedive Isma’il Pasha as too expensive, and so Bartholdi went back to the drawing board, where he converted progress into liberty. He draped his figure in the robes of ancient Greece and turned the lantern into a torch, and the statue, when it was finally built, became a gift from France to the United States in honor of the American centennial.

    The U.S. Congress, however, refused to allocate the funds needed to build the granite pedestal on which she would stand, and the centennial came and went without the statue there to commemorate it. Eventually the American fund-raising committee had the idea of displaying the statue's right arm outside Madison Square Park to bring attention to her plight. For seven years, from 1877 until 1884, the immense slender arm had risen gracefully over the treeline of the park, but little progress was made until Joseph Pulitzer issued a personal appeal for funds in the pages of The World. From the paper's working-class readers, many of them immigrants, came pennies, nickels, sometimes dollars. Within five months the $100,000 was raised – 80 percent of it from donations of less than a dollar – and two years later the Statue of Liberty proudly stood at the entrance to New York Harbor, her presence a testimony not only to the immigrants who were already transforming the life of the city, but also to the seemingly illimitable power of its press.


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