On this day today, 125 years ago the dedication of the Statue of Liberty took place in front of thousands of spectators in New York City.
France gave the Statue to the United States in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution. Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design a sculpture to commemorate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence.The lack of funds was a problem. In France, public fees, various forms of entertainment, and a lottery were among the methods used to raise funds. In the United States, benefit theatrical events, art exhibitions, auctions and prize fights assisted in providing needed funds. In France, Bartholdi required the assistance of Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel Tower) to help with the structural issues associated with designing such a colossal copper sculpture. In America, Joseph Pulitzer (noted for the Pulitzer Prize) opened up the editorial pages of his newspaper, “The World” to support the fund raising effort. Pulitzer used his newspaper to criticize both the rich who had failed to finance the pedestal construction and the middle class who were content to rely upon the wealthy to provide the funds. Pulitzer’s campaign of harsh criticism was successful in motivating the people of America to donate.
The Statue was completed in France in July, 1884. Lady Liberty was reduced to 350 individual pieces and packed in 214 crates and arrived in New York Harbor in June of 1885 on board the French frigate “Isere” The Statue was then re-assembled on her new pedestal in four months time and on October 28th 1886, the dedication of the Statue of Liberty took place in NYC.