This is the First Aerial Color Photograph Ever Shot: The Statue of Liberty, circa 1931

by Carolyn Sotka

statue of liberty

Photo from National Geographic Society’s FOUND tumblr account. Photograph by Melvin B. Grosvener. 

opening day

Image from the National Park Service

“The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States as a symbol of freedom and democracy. While intended to mark the abolition of slavery with the powerful image of a broken shackle and chain at the Statue’s right foot, the meaning behind it was not yet a reality for African Americans in 1886; at the time the statue emphasized the bitter ironies of America’s professed identity as a just and free society for all people regardless of race.

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886. It was designated as a National Monument in 1924. Employees of the National Park Service have been caring for the colossal copper statue since 1933. To learn more about the history of the Statue of Liberty visit the National Park Service Web site.

Found is a curated collection of photography from the National Geographic Archives. Started in 2013 to honor the 125th anniversary of the magazine, the Web site showcases photographs that reveal culture and moments from our past. Many of these images have rarely been seen by the public and their beauty had been lost to the outside world. -CS

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