Here are the answers for the That Big Woman standing in the harbor for no apparent reason Quiz.
A reminder: “T” is for “Truth”, “F” is for “Bald-Faced Lie” or “TF” is for “Half-Truth”.
1) T: In the 1850s, on a trip up Egypt’s Nile River, sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was impressed by the ancient giant statues at Abu Simbel. As a result, it’s true that he later met with Egypt’s viceroy Ismail Pasha and proposed that a modern giant statue of a “robed woman holding a torch” be erected at the mouth of the nearly completed Suez Canal. The Statue’s theme would’ve been “Egypt Bringing the Light (or Progress) to Asia.” The proposed statue would’ve also acted as a lighthouse that paid homage to the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the lost Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
It’s also true that Egypt didn’t have the money to finance the statue, and Bartholdi went on to propose his giant statue of a “robed woman holding a torch” to his native France as a gift to America. The Statue of Liberty’s theme: “Liberty Enlightening the World.”
2) TF: This anecdote is both true and false. It’s true that, during the Revolutionary War, the Statue of Liberty’s home, Bedloe’s Island, was seized by the British, who used the island as a place of refuge for Tory (English) sympathizers. It’s false that Tory descendants lived on Bedloe’s Island for decades until ground was broken for the Statue of Liberty. After the War for Independence, American revolutionaries burned down all structures on Bedloe’s Island. In 1793, the French took over the island and used it as an isolation station. Three years later, the French conveyed Bedloe’s Island to New York State.
3) TF: This anecdote is both true and false. It’s true that the Statue of Liberty’s copper-plated torch was redesigned. The new design by Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum included 600 pieces of yellow cathedral glass.
It’s false that Borglum originally proposed replacing the Statue of Liberty’s torch with an illuminated flaming cross. It’s true that Borglum was a Ku Klux Klan member. He joined while creating a monument to Confederate leaders at Stone Mountain, Georgia in 1923. The Klan was the project’s major financial backer.
4) TF: This anecdote is both true and false. It’s false that German agents attempted to blow up the Statue of Liberty in 1916. Their true target was a munitions depot on neighboring Black Tom Island. It’s true that this explosion killed four people and sent shards in all directions, some still embedded in the Statue of Liberty. It’s also true that the United States was a neutral power at the time of the explosion, and that the German government felt that the United States was secretly supplying arms to the British.
After World War I, the saboteurs were tracked down and the German government paid reparations for damages. Since the Black Tom explosion, the Statue of Liberty’s torch has been closed to the public.
5) F: It’s false that The Statue of Liberty was originally intended as a monument to the end of slavery in America. While sculptor Bartholdi and his friend Edouard de Laboulaye were both French abolitionists, the legend originated in an 1885 Statue of Liberty fundraising pamphlet written as a tribute to Laboulaye by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi at the time of his friend’s death.