8 Facts You Might Not Know About the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty has been a resident of New York for over 130 years, but much of her history and symbolism isn’t common knowledge.
In Her Right Foot, a new children’s book about Lady Liberty and all that she stands for, Dave Eggers and illustrator Shawn Harris explore the journey of the famed statue—and discover something new on the way.
Here are some of their discoveries, complete with text from the picture book.
1. She is covered in a very thin layer of copper.
“This final, full size version was covered with a thin copper skin. The skin is about as thick as two pennies.”
2. Because of the copper, she started out brown.
“You may have thought the illustrator of this book was not so good at his job, because we all know the Statue of Liberty to be a certain greenish-blue. But the Statue of Liberty was made of copper, and copper starts out brown. . . in fact, [she] was brown for about thirty-five years. The statue turned green around 1920, and has been this color ever since.”
3. She was first assembled in Paris.
“This really happened. The Statue of Liberty stood there, high above Paris, for almost a year, in 1884.”
4. The book she’s carrying has an important inscription.
“And you may have known that the book the statue is carrying, the one in her left hand, features the date, July 4, 1776, on which the Declaration of Independence was signed.”
5. And the seven spikes on her crown mean something, too.
“. . . the seven spikes on her crown represent the seven seas on Earth, and the seven continents, and the sun’s rays, too.”
6. Thomas Edison wanted there to be a giant record player inside the Statue of Liberty.
“. . . at one point, Thomas Edison, inventor of the lightbulb and the record player, once proposed to have a giant record player inside the Statue of Liberty. He did! He wanted the statue to be able to speak. In the end, though, this idea was considered a bit strange and was not pursued.”
7. The interior of the statue was designed by Gustave Eiffel.
“And did you know that the interior of the statue was designed by another Frenchman by the name of Eiffel? That’s right—the same Eiffel who, a few years later, would design the Eiffel Tower.”
8. Her right leg is in mid-stride.
“People talk about her unusual headwear. They talk about her gown . . . They talk about her beautiful torch and the severe look on her face . . But few talk about the foot that is so obviously in mid-stride. About the fact that her entire right leg is in mid-stride. What does this mean? What does this mean that we often forget about this right foot, this right leg?”
– – –
The Statue of Liberty does not sit still, and that makes all the difference. Her Right Foot is about the journey to discover why she’s on the move.
The book comes out on September 19th, 2017—preorder now and we’ll send you a limited edition poster (signed by Dave Eggers!) and postcards. Details here.
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