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Liberty's Torch, exhibited in Madison Square Park

(STATUE OF LIBERTY, Central Park.). Liberty’s Torch in Madison Square Park

no publisher, negative ca. 1876, made from a print, late 19th century

Gelatin silver print. 11 x 14 in. Tear and crease at upper left.

The torch of the Statue of Liberty was exhibited in Madison Square Park, New York to raise funds for the statue’s completion.  The torch remained in the park from 1876 through 1882.

“Bartholdi was inspired by French law professor and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye, who is said to have commented in 1865 that any monument raised to American independence would properly be a joint project of the French and American peoples. He may have been minded to honor the Union victory in the American Civil War and the end of slavery. Due to the troubled political situation in France, work on the statue did not commence until the early 1870s. In 1875, Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue and the Americans provide the site and build the pedestal. Bartholdi completed the head and the torch-bearing arm before the statue was fully designed, and these pieces were exhibited for publicity at international expositions.

“The torch-bearing arm was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, in 1876, and in New York’s Madison Square Park from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened due to lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World started a drive for donations to complete the project that attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. The statue was constructed in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe’s Island. The statue’s completion was marked by New York’s first ticker-tape parade and a dedication ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland” (Wikipedia). Eccentric tycoon and collector Benjamin Richardson rode in George Washington’s carriage in the parade.

$750