Pulitzer’s Campaign

By March of 1885, Liberty was on her way to New York but no pedestal existed. Distraught over the embarrassing reticence of New York’s elite, newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer resolved to do everything in his power to raise the remaining 100,000 dollars needed to complete the pedestal.

As owner of the The New York World, one of the most widely-read daily penny papers in the city, Pulitzer knew how to appeal to average readers. Almost daily, Pulitzer ran cartoons depicting a down-trodden or angry Lady Liberty and published stories concerning the plight of the pedestal. Pulitzer asked every man, woman and child to contribute what they could, reminding readers that no sum was too small. Pulitzer also promised to publish the name of every single donor in his newspaper.

Article in a September issue of The New York Globe announcing the completion of Pulizer's Fundraiser

Article in a May issue of The New York World announcing the completion of Pulizer’s fundraiser

The thrill of seeing one’s name in print proved irresistible to many ordinary people. Within weeks, donations started pouring in, ranging from a few cents to thousands of dollars. Pulitzer had transformed the statue into a woman who needed New York’s help, thereby appealing to civic responsibility and offering individuals a public acknowledgement of their good works.

In six months, Pulitzer’s campaign raised the last 100,000 dollars, a staggering success considering the fact that only 125,000 had been raised over the previous seven years combined.


Next page