The Statue of Liberty Was One Man's Quixotic Pet Project

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Bartholdi displayed the statue’s head at the 1878 world’s fair in Paris. Proceeds from postcard and souvenir sales helped fund Liberty’s construction.

The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world, a symbol of freedom and the American dream. For decades, the myth has persisted that the statue was a grand gift from France, but Elizabeth Mitchell reveals that the Statue of Liberty was in fact the pet project of one quixotic and visionary French sculptor, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. Bartholdi not only forged this 151-foot-tall colossus in a workshop in Paris and transported her across the ocean. Mitchell tells the story of the statue in Liberty's Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty.