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Paris Tips: Celebrating the Statue of Liberty

Jeanne Herring and Captain H. Hogervorst, Holland-America Line, 1956 (T. Brack’s archives)

Lady, I can see your halo at the Musée des Arts et Métiers

By Theadora Brack

In celebration of Election Day in the U.S., let’s change course and pay homage to my favorite Franco-American gift, the gigantesque statue of Lady Liberty in the New York Harbor.

Sadly, because of Hurricane Sandy, the Statue of Liberty temporarily closed again only one day after re-opening from being closed for a year-long supreme make-over. (Whew. Got that?) Don’t fret. A gal’s gotta do, what a gal’s gotta do. Soon she’ll be back in action. Yes, I’m a believer. Here’s to a speedy recovery!

Shine-on

Our 151-foot tall iconic darling is still looking ever-so-fierce in her spiky nimbus (that’s right, it’s not a crown!) and her matching floor length chiton in all its coppery green tonalities. An exquisite nod to the style of classical Greece, I must say.

Pinching from the late, great designer Christian Dior, “Darling, your toile with the cinched waist is perfect!”

Dream Team

Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi was the artist, and Alexandre Gustave Eiffel and Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc were the structural engineers of the Union Franco-Americaine Statue of Liberty project. Yes, it is a small world.

Dior’s “New Look” and La Statue de la Liberté, By Combat Photographer Robert Capa, 1948

Exciting and New

During the summer of 1885, it took Lady Liberty (300 copper pieces packed in 214 crates) one month and change to make the rocky voyage aboard the French ship Isere from France to the New York Harbor. “You look marvelous,” Mayor William Russell Grace shouted, live from New York!

Cruising to Paris?

Don’t leave Paris without checking out the prototypes of Bartholdi’s La Statue de la Liberté scattered around the city. You can find them in a range of sizes near the Pont de Grenelle on the Île des Cygnes (Métro: Bir-Hakeim), in the Jardin du Luxembourg (Métro: Odéon), and at the Musée des Arts et Métiers (Métro: Arts et Métiers).

Tip: And you can also find a full-sized version of the torch at the entrance to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel. Nowadays, it serves double duty as the unofficial Princess Di memorial. By the way, Bartholdi’s former studio is located at rue de Chazelles in the 17th arrondissement (Métro: Courcelles). Look for the plaque!

To love is to act

Prior to the Statue of Liberty’s voyage in 1885, Victor Hugo paid a visit to Bartholdi’s workshop. He wrote, “The sea, that great restless being, observes the union of the two great lands at peace.”

Monsieur Hugo also penned, “To love is to act!”

La Statue de la Liberté,  Île des Cygnes

La Statue de la Liberté, Île des Cygnes, Paris, 1940

Eau de Cologne Tricolore by Coty, 1937

“Souvenir de Paris” compact mirror, 1940s

Statue of Liberty, New York City, Heart-Shaped Compact Mirror, 1950s

Bon Voyage! Jeanne and Emanuel Herring, Cherbourg, France, 1956

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51 thoughts on “Paris Tips: Celebrating the Statue of Liberty

  1. Merci baucoup, Mlle B., pour une belle histoire de la Statue de Liberte’!

    Love the Dior quote…and all the images are wonderful, especially Coty “Tricolore” and the compacts!

    Liberte’, Egalite’, Fraternite’…pour jamais!!!

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    • Swell, thank you!! Coty’s “Tricolore” is one of my favorites. I fell for it the moment I spotted it at the Porte de Vanves Flea. It looks well-loved. I’ve been trying to track its exact release date. I’ll throw on my “Nancy Drew” thinking cap again! B.

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      • I should know it, but vaguely remember…it’s been so long. Actually, my Mother preferred Estee Lauder; loved the aroma emanating from her dresser drawers, and sometimes smell it still.

        P.S.: Loved, loved Nancy and all her detecting (my Dad was a police detective!)!!!

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      • Hold the presses! I think our “Eau de Cologne Tricolore” was created in 1937 as a nod to the Coronation of George VI. The limited line was also called “Les Trois Couleurs.” The Royal mystery continues. . .

        A police detective? How cool is that! I still collect the Nancy Drew books. I love the book titles and covers. (I also loved your Estée Lauder story. Private Collection has always been a favorite.)

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    • Thank you, Patti! I also love the shot of Jeanne Herring and the dashing Captain Hogervorst. She looks so happy. Beaming! T. (The Parisian LL’s do look at home! I’d love to visit the model at the Bartholdi Museum in Colmar, France. One day soon.)

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  2. Hi Theadora, Love the history lesson regarding the Statue of Liberty. I had no idea the story behind this iconic statue. I am also so impressed with how you clearly and thoroughly research your topics as well as provide such interesting photographs to support the content. Well done and bravo! ~ Theadora

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    • Merci, Theadora! (Great name, by the way!) I thoroughly enjoy the research phase. I get obsessed. It’s always difficult for me hit the “publish” button and take a post “live.” It’s all about the process, eh? Enjoy the week! T.

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      • I have to admit I have very similar feelings towards the blogging process. I love the development and creation stage of the blog and find it difficult to hit publish as well thinking is it ready? Does it need something else? PS Love your name too! ~Thea

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    • Thank you! My bottles. My babies. I’m currently cooking up an “Evening in Paris” post. Created by Bourjois in 1929, the cobalt blue bottles are beauties. Interesting history, to boot! T.

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  3. She is indeed a well-travelled dame for her time, and copper is the finest of robes (copper is my trade)…I must admit she admonishes a little with the way she haughtily stares, but which man does not need to be challenged? Still, her ethics are a bit too good for me, and one likes a little bawdiness and naughtiness every now and then…just a touch…so I won’t be trying to woo her…I’m all for justice and hope, but the fatal passion of an iconic monument like the Taj Mahal has a certain allure..a beautiful gift by Paris though, in the eyes they saw her future hosts.

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    • You never fail to make me grin!! Thanks for that. Haughty expression, indeed! According to rumor, Bartholdi was inspired by the statues at the Louvre, along with his mother. Interesting. . . T. (And speaking of copper, the Lady Liberty’s copper source is still a mystery. Last year I got to visit the copper mine in Ely, Nevada. I stayed for hours, watching the action. Fascinating.)

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      • Copper beautiful! I’m genuinely happy you enjoyed the mine – now, was thinking the same thing about the statue. My opinions about where the copper came – at that time 2 European countries were world leaders in copper mining and smelting – Sweden and Wales. Poland also had well-established copper mines in the south of the country. It may also have come from Africa, in the Congo. I will try hard to find out!

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      • Thank you! According to a Q&A in The New York Times with Barry Moreno (New York historian and author of “The Statue of Liberty Encyclopedia”), the mine in Visnes, Norway is a possibility. During the 1870s, it was the largest copper mine in Norway. I’ll keep searching. . . T. (I love copper. I also collect big old cinnabar-copper rings. Beauties!)

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      • Well…that’s fun about the cinnabar copper rings – are there many in Paris? It is interesting, I must say. Norway…would never have guessed! Would have thought Poland, or Bulgaria first, due to historical alliances. The copper would need smelting too, and that might have been done in a 3rd location. Anyway, just professional passion speaking. Bisous, belle Americaine, …!

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  4. I love the compact too! It reminds me of the interiors of all the old school buildings in NYC, the Empire State, the Chysler and [my favorite] the Channing Building. What’s that pagoda-type building behind the Statue de Liberté in the sepia-toned picture?

    Fabulous choice for an Election-themed piece. Gave me nostalgia about the time we went to the top as kids. I expected the crown to be more grandiose when you finally got there, Mom almost needed a bag to breathe into when the stairs spiraled tightly through the neck and my younger brothers kept trying to pry the dried chewing gum off the exterior walls. I think that’s the last time we took out-of-town relatives to a tourist attraction.

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    • Well, thank you, Lady!! As a former Staten Islander, I also love the old-school buildings in New York City. The Empire State Building is my favorite. I’ve watched Leo McCarey’s “An Affair to Remember” (1957) with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr too many times to count!

      I loved YOUR story. Funny bubblegum detail! Did you climb all 354 steps? So you noticed the Statue of Liberty’s crown? Why am I not surprised? Did it kick-off and inspire your fondness of tiaras?! T. (M.A. would have loved New York, eh?)

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  5. I always liked that line, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door . . . .” When I was a kid of 12 (in 1964) we entered New York harbor on the USS United States, and I stood on deck holding my parents’ hands among a group of people who were seeing it for the first time (they, not me), and it was very moving to see how excited they were. I’m moved again now, thinking back about it. Thanks for bringing back this memory.

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    • Ah, Martino! Thanks for sharing such a lovely memory. Do you have any photographs? Did you get to dine with the captain? T. (I also love the line, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door . . . .”

      The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus (1883)

      Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
      With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
      Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
      A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
      Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
      Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
      Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
      The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
      “Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
      With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
      Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
      The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
      I lift my lamp beside the golden door

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    • Thank you, Richard! I also love the photographs of Jeanne and Emanuel Herring. The top shot of Jeanne and the Captain is adorable. She looks radiant! Jeanne and her husband Emanuel traveled through Europe during the fall of 1956. Their trip souvenir book is such a treasure. I plan to share more pics! T.

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  6. One of my favourite landmarks in the World both the NYC and Paris versions. There is her little distant cousin in Portland, OR too: Portlandia

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  7. This is one lady who has taken to “carrying a torch” to an extreme. Over 127 years she’s shown her flame. How steadfast is this kind of love. How fortunate for America this transplanted French woman welcomes all to her battered shores. Virginia

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  8. Awesome post! You hit all of them, from the Luxembourg Gardens to the Pont d’Alma. Can’t sneak anything by you, Theadora! Thanks for the lovely photos and the marvelous tribute.

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  9. I had no idea that there were so many prototypes of the Lady Liberty. You always have the most beautiful and fascinating of lessons here, Theadora. I invariably learn something and usually many things, and I drool over the perfume bottles and old photos. And “To love is to act!” Ah, what food for thought in that little line! Thank you! ~ Lily

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  10. I enjoyed this piece. My memories of the statue of liberty come from my visit in the mid 1940s. While much of the visit is vague my recall of the inside of the statue is vivid. As a 5-year old I was facinated by the metal stairs and they were so narrow are went up what seeme like forever. We were able to get to the crown and I was held up to see NYC. Also, I recall looking up at a very very narrow stairase going up to the torch – not sure if people went up.
    When we were in Paris we did get to see La Statue de la Liberté, Île des Cygnes.
    Thanks for filling in the between years.

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  11. Could you please let me know where you found the picture of Jeanne Herring with my grandfather captain hogervorst of the holland America line? Also, so you have any more of him?
    Kind regards
    Ellen Verhagen

    Ps he was my mothers father

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    • Hello Ellen,
      Apologies for the delay! I’ve been on a work trip. Thanks for your message regarding your grandfather, Captain H. Hogervorst. It’s a fantastic photograph, isn’t it? I found it in a family trip scrap book. On October 25, 1956, Jeanne and Emmanuel sailed from New Jersey to Southampton, aboard the Maasdam (Holland America). The pair then spent two months, exploring London, Rome, and Paris. Do let me know if you would like scans of the image, along with an official invitation from the captain. I’m happy to send them to you! Here’s my email address: peopleplacesandbling@gmail.com .
      Cheers!
      Theadora

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