The Statue of Liberty, 46 m (150.9 ft) high, was originally called Liberty Enlightening the World; it was conceived as a gift from the French to the American people to honor the 1876 centennial celebration.

The exterior copper shell, in the form of a classical, draped female figure carrying a torch aloft, was designed (1870-75) by the French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi; the wrought-iron pylon inside was the work of Gustave Eiffel, designer of the Eiffel Tower in Paris; and the stone-and-concrete pedestal was planned by the American architect Richard Morris Hunt.

The statue was completed in Paris in 1884 and unveiled in New York Harbor on Oct. 26, 1886, in the presence of the sculptor. The funds for the statue were donated by the French people and those for the base by Americans.

Probably the best-known symbolic image of America, the statue is also associated with the famous poem by Emma Lazarus inscribed at the base.


Bibliography: Grumet, M., Statue of Liberty (1986); Hayden, R., and Despont, T., Restoring the Statue of Liberty (1986); Weisberger, B. A., The Statue of Liberty: Its First Hundred Years (1985).