The Statue of Liberty
Lazarus, who had
worked with East European immigrants through
her association with the Hebrew Emigrant
Aid Society, composed “The
New Colossus” in 1883 as part of a fundraising
campaign for erecting the Statue of Liberty.
In 1903, a tablet with her words — “Give
me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free” — was
affixed to the statue's base. These words
remain the quintessential expression of America's
vision of itself as a haven for those denied
freedom and opportunity in their native lands.
The deed below, dated July 4, 1884, marks
the presentation of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi's
colossal statue, “Statue of Liberty
Enlightening the World” to the people
of the United States from the “people
of the Republic of France . . . attesting
to their abiding friendship.” In
1886, the Statue of Liberty was erected on
its pedestal at Bedloe's Island in New York
of Gift for the Statue of Liberty.
Document with watercolor, July 4, 1884.
of the National Archives and Records
Administration, Washington, D.C.
At the inauguration ceremony
on October 28, President Grover Cleveland
accepted the statue on behalf of the American
people, promising, “we will not forget
that Liberty has here made her home; nor
shall her chosen altar be neglected.”
to the inauguration of the Statue
of Liberty by the President (Grover
Cleveland), Oct 28, 1886.
Printed invitation engraved with gold seal and
lithograph of statue.
William Maxwell Evarts Papers.
Set in 1885, Irving
Berlin's Broadway musical Miss
Liberty centers on the dedication
ceremonies of the Statue of Liberty and
the hero's search for the model that posed
for Bertholdi's statue. Berlin, himself
an immigrant from Russia, set music to
Emma Lazarus's iconic poem, “Give
Me Your Tired, Your Poor.” It is the only
song in the Irving Berlin canon for which
he used someone else's words.
Irving Berlin (1888-1989) and Emma
"Give Me Your Tired, Your
Poor," from Miss Liberty,
Piano vocal score.
Irving Berlin Collection.