Meet Your Maker: Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi


The Statue of Liberty is America’s most famous symbol, yet few people could name the man who imagined, created, championed, groveled for, lost sleep over, and unveiled the colossus. The accepted history goes that France gave Liberty to America as an act of friendship, but this was not a gift from government to government. Instead, one artist envisioned a colossus. He designed her to stand in the harbor of the Suez Canal, but the deal fell through. He needed to sell his work somewhere, so he headed to America:

“Each site presents some difficulty,” he wrote to his mother on his journey in 1871. “But the greatest difficulty, I believe, will be the American character which is hardly open to things of the imagination. . . . I believe that the realization of my project will be a matter of luck.”

1 Comment

  1. Stephen Craig Schell
    July 18, 2014

    July 18

    Thank you for a wonderful read. I am a retired teacher of the Humanities and US History and your book has changed the way I see the statue today. A great irony is that today immigrants coming up from the south have no statue but a fence and frustrated US residents to meet them. I have no specific answer but, knowing how important immigrants have been to America since the 19th century, I hope we can find a win-win solution.


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Hollywood, MD

September 27, 2017, TBDpm

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* Moderator of discussion with Susana Moreira Marques, Asle Skredderberget, and Matei Visniec for New Literature from Europe. Click here for more information.


July 7, 2014, 7pm

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* Books sold by Freebird Bookstore Event details to come. Click here for more information.


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Talk and slide presentation on the great adventure to build the Statue of Liberty.


July 16, 2014, 7:00 pm

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August 30, 2014

2014 Library of Congress National Book Festival Walter E. Washington Convention Center 801 Mt. Vernon Pl NW

Talk and Q&A from 2:35 p.m. to 3:20 p.m. at the Special Programs Pavilion Signing from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Click here for more information.

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