Give me your tired, your poor,For his 1949 Broadway musical Miss Liberty, Irving Berlin, himself an immigrant from Russia, set music to Emma Lazarus’s iconic poem. It is the only song in the Irving Berlin canon for which he used someone else’s words. First designated a monument in 1924 and transferred to the National Park Service’s care in 1933, the Statue of Liberty National Monument’s boundaries expanded in 1956 to include both the renamed Liberty Island and Ellis Island within a single site. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site External in 1984, the Statue of Liberty underwent a major restoration for its own centennial, in 1986.
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!
Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus,” 1883.
- Twelve years after the statue’s installation, Thomas Edison’s motion picture company filmed the Statue of Liberty. This film is available online through The Life of a City: Early Films of New York, 1898-1906. Browse the list of film titles to find other views of the city at the turn of the century.
- By World War I, the Statue of Liberty was firmly established as an American icon. Search Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920 External on Statue of Liberty to examine sheet music illustrated with images of Lady Liberty. See, for example, “Good-Bye Broadway, Hello France External” published in 1917.
- Search on the term Bartholdi in the collection The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals External to find articles concerning the “Bartholdi Colossus.” Read, for example, a brief article entitled “The Inauguration of Bartholdi’s Liberty Statue” which the journal Manufacturer and Builder carried in its November 1886 issue. Search the same collection on the name Lazarus to learn more about the poet’s interest in immigration issues.
- The collections include many pictures of the landmark. To find them, search across the collections featuring Photos, Prints on the term Statue of Liberty.