STATUE OF LIBERTY by Charles Mercer


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It was partly sincere admiration for the American system, reports Mercer, partly a desire to win friends for the Third Republic, that prompted the French sponsors of the Statue of Liberty to make the gesture. Sculptor Bartholdi, who already valued the colossal and subscribed to the neoclassical conventions of his time, was enthusiastic from the beginning--but Americans were less so when it turned out that the French could raise money only for the statue itself and the recipients would have to come up with an equal amount for the pedestal and base. A popular campaign by Pulitzer's World brought in donations, from schoolchildren's pennies on--no millionaires came forth with huge endowments--so that the pedestal was finally completed, almost a year after the Old Girl's crossing. Mercer's political/historical background can sound condescending, but most of this is the simple story of the statue's progress, in the workshop and on subscription lists--with some interesting photos of its various stages of construction.

Pub Date: June 29th, 1979
Publisher: Putnam