Liberty, Statue of
The base of the statue is an 11-pointed star, part of old Fort Wood; a 154-ft (47-m) pedestal, built through American funding and designed by Richard Morris Hunt, is made of concrete faced with granite. On it is a tablet, affixed in 1903, inscribed with
The New Colossus, the famous sonnet of Emma Lazarus, welcoming immigrants to the United States. By the early 20th cent, this greeting to the arriving stranger had become the statue's primary symbolic message. Broadening in its meaning, the statue became a symbol of America during World War I and a ubiquitous democratic symbol during World War II. An elevator runs to the top of the pedestal, and steps within the statue lead to the crown.
The Statue of Liberty became a national monument in 1924. In 1965, Ellis Island, the entrance point of millions of immigrants to the United States, was added to the monument. The statue was extensively refurbished, including replacing the torch, prior to its centennial celebration in 1986. The Statue of Liberty Museum, on Liberty Island in a separate facility and containing the statue's original torch, opened in 2019.
See M. Trachtenberg, The Statue of Liberty (1976); W. S. Dillon, ed., The Statue of Liberty Revisited (1994); B. Moreno, The Statue of Liberty Encyclopedia (2000); Y. S. Khan, Enlightening the World: The Creation of the Statue of Liberty (2010); E. Mitchell, Liberty's Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty (2014).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. National Park System