In Photos: The Statue of Liberty

The 151-foot-tall Statue of Liberty, officially Liberty Enlightening the World, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and Gustave Eiffel, was a gift to the United States from the people of France in 1886. With a tablet inscribed with the date of America’s independence, a broken chain beside one foot symbolizing the abolition of slavery, and a guiding light held up for the world to see, the structure is loaded with symbolism.

The sonnet “The New Colossus,” written by Emma Lazarus for the statue, reads in part: “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.”

The statue has stood watch over New York Harbor for more than 130 years, as the nearby city skyline evolved and grew dramatically.

Gathered below, images of the Statue of Liberty, inside and out, from her birth in Paris to the present day.

The moon rises behind the Statue of Liberty in New York City on June 11, 2017, as seen from Jersey City, New Jersey.

Gary Hershorn / Getty\

An 1875 image of Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, the creator of the Statue of Liberty, posing with a visitor while the statue was under construction inside a Paris studio.

Bettmann / Getty

The head of the Statue of Liberty, on display in a park in Paris, France, in 1883.

Albert Fernique / Library of Congress

Men in a workshop hammer sheets of copper for the construction of the Statue of Liberty in 1883.

Albert Fernique / New York Public Library

Assemblage of the Statue of Liberty in Paris, showing the bottom half of the statue under scaffolding, with the head and torch at its feet, photographed in 1883.

Albert Fernique / New York Public Library

Original caption: “New York, NY – Statue of Liberty toes and base of torch on ground, prepatory to being hoisted into position onto the pedestal on Bedloe’s Island.” Photographed circa 1885.

Bettmann / Getty

The inauguration of the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Enlightening the World, in New York Harbor, on October 28, 1886. A military and naval salute marked the event, presided over by U.S. President Grover Cleveland.

Library of Congress

Looking down at the statue from its torch, circa 1890

Stoddard / Library of Congress / Corbis / VCG via Getty

The text of the poem entitled “The New Colossus,” by Emma Lazarus, mounted on the base of the Statue of Liberty. The sonnet was written in 1883, and donated to help raise money for the statue’s pedestal. The text was later cast in bronze and and mounted in 1903.

Bettmann / Getty

The Statue of Liberty greets the Second Division as it arrives in New York City on August 8, 1919.

National Archives

The island that the statue now stands on was previously occupied by Fort Wood, a U.S. military fortification. By the late 1880s, the fort was becoming obsolete, and part of the land was given over to the statue. Here, a view of the Statue of Liberty, standing above workers in Fort Wood, circa 1918.

National Archives

Military aircraft fly over the Statue of Liberty, circa 1935.

General Photographic Agency / Getty

In 1946, refugee children gaze at the Statue of Liberty from the railing of a boat.

Jerry Cooke / Pix Inc. / The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty

Original caption: “June 20, 1946 – New York: An unidentified visitor to the Statue of Liberty notes on an interior girder his name and his wife’s name. Many visitors to Bedloe’s island on which ‘Miss Liberty’ is located use lipstick to mark their names or initials.”

Bettmann / Getty

A view of the statue taken at night, during a blackout designed to help conserve energy during World War II, in March of 1942.

Andreas Feininger / The LIFE Picture Collection via Getty

The Interior of the head and crown, looking northwest.

Jet Lowe / Library of Congress

A view of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan in the evening, photographed in 1961.

Peter J. Eckel / The LIFE Images Collection via Getty

First Lady Nancy Reagan waves to photographers in a helicopter hovering near the Statue of Liberty on the day after the Statue of Liberty Centennial celebration, in July 1986.

Wally McNamee / Corbis via Getty

A view looking up a spiral staircase in the statue’s interior.

Jet Lowe / Library of Congress

The “Tribute in Light” memorial shines behind the Statue of Liberty on March 11, 2002.

Don Murray / Getty

A nose and mouth detail with a worker named Isabel Hill holding a scale stick, during restoration work in March 1985.

Jet Lowe / Library of Congress

The space shuttle Enterprise passes the Statue of Liberty as it makes the final leg of its journey to its new Manhattan home on the flight deck of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, on June 6, 2012.

Richard Drew / AP

The sun rises on the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty in New York City on November 25, 2018, as seen from Bayonne, New Jersey.

Gary Hershorn / Getty

An aerial view of the statue and Liberty Island, taken in October 2015.

Andrew Stranovsky Photography / Getty

A view toward the Statue of Liberty on a foggy day, as seen from the 17th floor of a nearby office building.

Nice Bike Films / Getty


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