Statue of Liberty (1984)
United States of America

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Made in Paris by the French sculptor Bartholdi, in collaboration with Gustave Eiffel (who was responsible for the steel framework), this towering monument to liberty was a gift from France on the centenary of American independence in 1886. Standing at the entrance to New York Harbour, it has welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States ever since. 

USA 1956. Souvenir sheet from the 5th International Philatelic Exhibition 1956.

The Statue of Liberty was proclaimed a national monument in 1924. Located in New York City, the monument consists of two small islands, Liberty Island and Ellis Island, that lie in Upper New York Bay. 

The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island. Ellis Island was once the location where most immigrants entered the United States. 

  • USA 1956. 5th International Philatelic Exhibition 1956. The Statue of liberty with two imperforated stamps of face value 3c and 8c, respectively. 
The Statue of Liberty is a monumental sculpture that symbolizes freedom throughout the world. Its formal name is Liberty Enlightening the World. The statue depicts a woman escaping the chains of tyranny, which lie at her feet. 

Her right hand holds aloft a burning torch that represents liberty. Her left hand holds a tablet inscribed with the date “July 4, 1776” (in Roman numerals), the day the United States declared its independence. 

She is wearing flowing robes, and the seven rays of her spiked crown symbolize the seven seas and continents. 

  • USA 1999. The Statue of Liberty in New York. 

USA 1999. The Statue of Liberty.

France 1936. The Statue of Liberty.

The Statue of Liberty is 46 m (151 ft) high. Its base and pedestal increase the height of the monument to 93 m (305 ft). The surface of the statue is composed of hammered copper sheets 2.4 mm (0.01 in) thick that are riveted to an iron framework. 

The iron frame was devised by the French engineer Gustave Alexandre Eiffel, who also built the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The statue rests upon a concrete-and-granite pedestal designed by American architect Richard Morris Hunt. 

A star-shaped wall surrounds the 47-m (154-ft) pedestal. This wall was part of Fort Wood, which was built in the early 19th century to defend New York during the War of 1812 (1812-1815). 

  • France 1936. The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbour. The stamp is a semi-postal for the benefit of aid to refugees and victims of persecution in their native countries. 
The Statue of Liberty commemorates the alliance between France and the United States during the American Revolution (1775-1783). It was designed by French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and completed in July 1884. The French people donated the money for the statue. See also France, Banks of the River Seine (on this site). 

The United States built the pedestal with funds raised by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. The statue was first exhibited in Paris, then dismantled and shipped to New York, and reassembled at its present location. It was formally dedicated by U.S. president Grover Cleveland on Oct. 28, 1886. 

  • USA and France 1986. Joint issue of the Statue of Liberty, New York. 

USA 1986. Joint issue with France of the Statue of Liberty, New York.

France 1986. The Statue of Liberty. Joint issue with the United States.

The Statue of Liberty soon became an international symbol of freedom. It greeted thousands of immigrants and visitors as they entered New York Bay and arrived in the United States. In 1903 the sonnet “The New Colossus” by the American poet Emma Lazarus was inscribed in bronze at the base of the statue. It reads: 

USA 2006. Statue of Liberty with Stars and Stripes

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!” 

To prepare for the statue’s centennial year in 1986, a French-American rehabilitation project repaired and cleaned the statue, replacing its glass-and-metal torch with one covered in gold leaf. Ferries from Battery Park in New York City take visitors to Liberty Island. Visitors ride an elevator or climb 192 steps to an observation area at the top of the pedestal. A museum inside the pedestal details the history of the monument and features the original torch and flame. The full climb of 354 steps (the equivalent of a 22-floor building) takes the most ambitious visitors from the pedestal to the crown, which offers outstanding views of New York Harbour and New York City. 

Ellis Island was the gateway to the United States for about 12 million immigrants between 1892 and 1954. It became part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965. From 1984 to 1990 the main building for processing immigrants was restored as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. The museum features three floors of exhibits, a research library, and an ongoing oral history project that records and preserves the story of immigration in the United States. Administered by the National Park Service. Area, 23 hectares (58 acres). 

USA 1999. Ellis Island.

Ellis Island, New York.

Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923), French engineer and builder, most famous for the construction of the tower in Paris that bears his name. Born in Paris, his family included artisans and timber and coal merchants. Eiffel was educated at the Lycée Royal in Dijon and the College Sainte-Barbe in Paris, and he graduated from the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures in 1855, joining a company that produced steam engines. 

France 1982. Gustave Eiffel.

In 1858 the company was granted a contract to erect a railway bridge in Bordeaux. Eiffel oversaw the construction with such success that in 1866 he founded his own company and soon became known for his wrought-iron structures. 

Starting in 1872 he attracted foreign contracts, and in 1877 he erected over the Douro River in Porto (Oporto), Portugal, a steel arch bridge 160 m (525 ft) in height. 

  • France 1982. Gustave Eiffel. The stamp is a semi-postal.

Eiffel's work combined expert craftsmanship and graceful design, qualities that are evident in the Garabit viaduct in France. Completed in 1884, it was for a time the highest bridge in the world, winning Eiffel's factory a worldwide reputation for excellence. Eiffel cast Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi's colossal statue Liberty Enlightening the World, which was dedicated in New York in 1886. Soon after, he began work on his greatest project, the building of the Eiffel Tower. It was completed in 1889 for the celebration of the centennial of the French Revolution (1789-1799). The imposing tower—constructed of 7,000 tons of iron in 18,000 parts held together by 2,500,000 rivets—rises to a height of 300m (984 ft), and continues to dominate the Paris skyline. In the early 1890s Eiffel gave up the daily management of his business and became absorbed in the new science of aerodynamics. 

Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904), was a French sculptor, best known for the creation of the Statue of Liberty, located on Liberty Island in the harbor of New York City. Bartholdi was born in Colmar in Alsace, France. He received training there and in Paris as an architect. He also studied painting in Paris, and in 1855 he traveled to the Middle East to continue his studies. However, Bartholdi was soon devoting his energy to sculpture. 

USA 1985. F.A. Bartholdi, the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty.

His main interest was monumental sculpture, particularly large-scale pieces glorifying heroic ideas, personalities, and events. 

His architectural training served him well in sculpting, enabling him to handle successfully some extremely difficult problems of structure and materials. His best-known work, The Statue of Liberty, formally known as Liberty Enlightening the World, was executed produced almost entirely with funds donated by the French. 

  • USA 1985. F.A. Bartholdi, the sculptor of The Statue of Liberty. 
Intended as a monument commemorating the alliance between France and the United States during the American Revolution (1775-1783), the massive statue was hammered on a wooden mold out of 300 separate giant sheets of copper. The United States built the pedestal with funds raised by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. 

The statue was first exhibited in Paris, and then it was dismantled, shipped to New York, and reassembled at its present location. Formally dedicated by U.S. president Grover Cleveland on October 28, 1886, the statue soon became a symbol of freedom and opportunity. 

  • France 1959. Frédéric Bartholdi, in front of the Statue of Liberty and The Lion of Belfort. 

France 1959. Frédéric Bartholdi,

Another Bartholdi monument, possibly his greatest tour de force, is the Lion of Belfort, completed in 1880. Located in Belfort, France, the statue is carved out of the red sandstone of a hill towering over the city. The huge statue honors the defense of Belfort in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), see the stamp immediately above. 

Other Bartholdi sculptures include a double statue of the French military leader Marquis de Lafayette with former United States president George Washington (1873), located in the Place des États-Unis in Paris, and Lafayette Arriving in America (1875) at Union Square in New York City. 

USA 1975. Head of Statue of Liberty, with the last line of Emma Lazarus' sonnet: "...I lift my lamp beside the golden door".

Emma Lazarus (1849-1887), was an American poet, born in New York City. Her Poems and Translations (1867) contains her first work. In the early 1880s Lazarus used poetry to protest the persecution of Russian Jews, resulting in the publication of her Songs of a Semite (1882). Her sonnet “The New Colossus” (1883), which was inscribed in 1903 on the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor (see Liberty, Statue of), expresses her faith in the United States as a haven for the oppressed. To the best of my knowledge three stamps depicting Ms. Lazarus have been issued, from Uruguay, Cuba and Peru. Unfortunately I do not have any of them. 
  • USA 1975. Head of the Statue of Liberty, New York, with the last line of Emma Lazarus' sonnet " ... I lift my lamp beside the golden door". 

Sources and links:

Other World Heritage Sites in USA (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section United States for further information about such sites. 

 

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Revised 03 aug 2006  
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