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Light in the harbour: The Statue of Liberty in old photographs

by | Jul 3, 2021 | Photography, Society and Culture

As Americans celebrate the 4th of July, I thought I would share some old photographs of the Statue of Liberty. Well over a century after its inauguration in October 1886, the colossus continues to shine — a symbol of freedom and hope, not only for Americans but for the rest of humanity. I am including a poem by the American Jewish poet and activist, Emma Lazarus (1849 – 1887). The poem is inscribed on a plaque at the entrance to the statue’s pedestal.

Learn more about the Statue of Liberty here.

Liberty enlightening the world—Inauguration of the Bartholdi Statue, Harbor of New York—Military and naval salute, the President’s arrival at Liberty Island (1886)
Photo by H. O’Neil, New York
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, USA

Liberty Island, New York Harbor (c. 1890)
Photo by S.R. Stoddard, New York
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, USA

Statue of Liberty, New York harbor (1910)
Detroit Publishing Co., publisher
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, USA

Statue of Liberty seen from the S.S. Coamo leaving New York (1941)
Photo by Jack Delano (1914-1997)
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, USA

Sailor with arm around woman with the Statue of Liberty in background (1952)
Photo by Angelo Rizzuto (1906-1967)
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, USA

Statue of Liberty at Night (1965)
Photo by Robert Yarnall Richie (1908-1984)
Courtesy of SMU Libraries Digital Collections

The New Colossus

by Emma Lazarus

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!”

~ Barista Uno

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