National Geographic : 1986 Jul
possessive widowed mother. Later an acquaintance saw in her features Liberty's face, an observation Bartholdi neither denied nor explained. But his terra cotta bust of his mother (right) resembles an early model of Liberty. Wags said that Bartholdi's ladylove, Jeanne-Emilie Baheux de Puysieux, posed for the body, an unlikely rumor since he met and married her during his second trip to America, in 1876. By then the statue was under way. To build the titan, Bartholdi cut his final 36-foot-high plaster model into sections and enlarged each on the basis of thousands of precise measurements. LIBRARYOF CONGRESS(LEFT); KEVIN FLEMING,COURTESYMUSEEBARTHOLDI Each full-size section, such as the arm (left), was modeled in plaster in the Paris workshop of Gaget and Gauthier. Carpenters carved wood molds to match the plaster shape; metalworkers then hammered copper sheets into the molds until they duplicated the plaster arm. Iron armature ribs were attached with copper saddles and rivets. Work was sporadic because of lack of funds, but 600,000 francs--$1.3 million in today's dollars--had been raised by 1880, and by 1884 the last of the copper sheets was assembled over the frame in the workshop yard. The statue was seen at last when it was presented to the U. S. minister on July 4. For months Liberty stared over the Paris rooftops. Then it was taken apart, crated in some 200 boxes, and shipped to New York, arriving June 17, 1885.