Friday 16 June 2017

Record of the Week: The Statue of Liberty

On June 17, 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in hundreds of pieces in New York Harbor, ready to be reassembled. The statue was a gift from France in 1884, designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bertholdi. It was officially dedicated (in one piece!) on October 28, 1886, by President Grover Cleveland.

This week's record is a parchment issued by the New York State Council and Knights of Columbus commemorating the gift of the Statue of Liberty to the United States. It shows the deed of gift of the statue; the translation into English of the deed of gift; the lyrics to the sonnet The New Collosus by Emma Lazarus, which was written in 1883 to raise money for the statue's pedestal; the dedication plaque; the invitation to the inauguration; and details about the statue, including the dimensions and weight.

It might seem a bit odd that the Archdiocese of Toronto has a record relating to the Statue of Liberty, but the connection likely lies with Archbishop Lynch. Before he was called to Toronto, Lynch was rector of the Seminary of Our Lady of the Angels (now Niagara University), which he founded in 1856 at Niagara Falls, New York. The parchment is undated, and we do not know who sent it nor to whom it was sent; but Lynch kept in touch with contacts in New York after he left, so it would not be surprising if that is how the parchment arrived in ARCAT's holdings.

Artifacts Special Collection

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