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Statue of Liberty: Topics in Chronicling America

Originally a gift from France, the Statue of Liberty was unveiled in 1886. This guide provides access to materials related to the “Statue of Liberty” in the Chronicling America digital collection of historic newspapers.


"Liberty's light. Unveiling of Bartholdi's colossal statue at New York." November 5, 1886. The Iola Register (Iola, KS), Image 6. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers.

The unveiling of the Statue of Liberty in 1886 forever changed the New York skyline. Designed by Frederic Bartholdi, the statue was a gift from France – although Americans raised the funds for the pedestal she stands on. Only dignitaries were invited to attend the statue’s official dedication ceremony, but an estimated one million people took part in a parade and festivities around New York to mark the occasion. Read more about it!

The information in this guide focuses on primary source materials found in the digitized historic newspapers from the digital collection Chronicling America.

The timeline below highlights important dates related to this topic and a section of this guide provides some suggested search strategies for further research in the collection.


Summer 1878 Statue's head and plans for completion placed on display at Paris World's Fair, Exposition Universelle.
Summer 1885 Fundraising efforts, spurred on by Joseph Pulitzer, collect money to complete pedestal.
October 28, 1886 Dedication ceremony, presided over by President Grover Cleveland.