The New Colossus

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'''''The New Colossus'''''
Emma Lazarus's manuscript
Emma Lazarus's manuscript
Created1883
LocationStatue of Liberty, Liberty Island, New York City, New York, U.S.[1]
Author(s)Emma Lazarus
PurposeSonnet was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the monument in 1903
 
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'''''The New Colossus'''''
Emma Lazarus's manuscript
Emma Lazarus's manuscript
Created1883
LocationStatue of Liberty, Liberty Island, New York City, New York, U.S.[1]
Author(s)Emma Lazarus
PurposeSonnet was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the monument in 1903

"The New Colossus" is a sonnet by Emma Lazarus (1849–1887), written in 1883 and, in 1903, engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.


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!"

—Emma Lazarus, 1883

Contents

History of the poem

Bronze plaque inside the Statue of Liberty

This poem was written as a donation to an auction of art and literary works [2] conducted by the "Art Loan Fund Exhibition in Aid of the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund for the Statue of Liberty", the aim of which was to raise money for the pedestal's construction [3] The contribution was solicited by fundraiser William Maxwell Evarts. Initially Lazarus refused, but Constance Cary Harrison convinced her that the statue would be of great significance to immigrants sailing into the harbor.[4]

"The New Colossus" was the only entry read at the exhibit's opening, but was forgotten and played no role at the opening of the statue in 1886. In 1901, Lazarus's friend Georgina Schuyler began an effort to memorialize Lazarus and her poem, which succeeded in 1903 when a plaque bearing the text of the poem was mounted on the inner wall of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.[3]

The line "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" has read "Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" on the plaque hanging inside the Statue of Liberty[5] since its unveiling in 1903.

Contents

The title of the poem and the first two lines refer to the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The poem talks about the millions of immigrants who came to the United States (many of them through Ellis Island at the port of New York).

The "air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame" refers to New York City and Brooklyn, not yet consolidated into one unit in 1883.

Impact

Author John T. Cunningham wrote that "The Statue of Liberty was not conceived and sculpted as a symbol of immigration, but it quickly became so as immigrant ships passed under the statue. However, it was Lazarus's poem that permanently stamped on Miss Liberty the role of unofficial greeter of incoming immigrants".[6]

Paul Auster wrote that "Bartholdi's gigantic effigy was originally intended as a monument to the principles of international republicanism, but 'The New Colossus' reinvented the statue's purpose, turning Liberty into a welcoming mother, a symbol of hope to the outcasts and downtrodden of the world".[7]

Other uses

An excerpt from 'The New Colossus' is painted as a mural in San Francisco, also depicting The Statue of Liberty.


External links

References

  1. ^ "Statue of Liberty National Monument". National Park Service. 2007-12-31. http://www.nps.gov/stli/. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  2. ^ Sutherland, Cara A. (2003). The Statue of Liberty: The Museum of the City of New York. Barnes and Noble Publishing. ISBN 0-7607-3890-4.  p. 77: "auction of art and art and literary work"; Mark Twain also contributed
  3. ^ a b Young, Bette Roth (1997). Emma Lazarus in Her World: Life and Letters. The Jewish Publication Society. ISBN 0-8276-0618-4.  p. 3:; fell into obscurity; not mentioned at statue opening; Georgina Schuyler's campaign for the plaque
  4. ^ Felder, Deborah G.; Diana L Rosen (2003). Fifty Jewish Women Who Changed the World. Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-2443-X.  p. 45: Solicited by "William Maxwell Evert"[sic; presumably a misspelling of "William Maxwell Evarts]; Lazarus refused initially; convinced by Constance Cary Harrison
  5. ^ Shapiro, Gary (2006-12-08). "Misprint is spied in Lazarus poem at Liberty island". The New York Sun. http://www.nysun.com/article/44816. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  6. ^ Cunningham, John T. (2003). Ellis Island: Immigration's Shining Center. Arcadia what did it so Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-2428-X.  pp. 46-48
  7. ^ Auster, Paul (2005). Collected Prose : Autobiographical Writings, True Stories, Critical Essays, Prefaces, and Collaborations with Artists. Picador. ISBN 0-312-42468-X. p. 508, in an essay about New York City as a living embodiment of the idea of diversity