Statue of Freedom

Title

Statue of Freedom

Description

In 1855, Congress commissioned Thomas Crawford to build a statue to top the cast-iron Capitol dome. Two years later, Crawford created the plaster model in Rome and sent it to the US for casting. The bronze was cast at a foundry in Washington DC under the supervision of Philip Reid, an enslaved man. Casting was briefly interrupted by the beginning of the Civil War, but was completed by 1862. The statue stood on the Capitol grounds until the dome was completed. The statue was installed in stages, with the final pieces added in December 1863. Today, the Capitol Visitor Center displays the plaster model of the statue.

Source

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. View original.

Date

12/2/1863 (installed)

Coverage

Physical Description

The statue is a female figure wearing a military style helmet decorated with an eagle’s head, stars, and a feathered crest. She holds a sheathed sword in her right hand, while in her left she has a laurel wreath and a shield with thirteen stripes. The statue itself is 19.5 feet (6 meters) tall. The figure stands on a globe bearing the motto “E Pluribus Unum.”

Description

In 1855, Congress commissioned Thomas Crawford to build a statue to top the cast-iron Capitol dome. Two years later, Crawford created the plaster model in Rome and sent it to the US for casting. The bronze was cast at a foundry in Washington DC under the supervision of Philip Reid, an enslaved man. Casting was briefly interrupted by the beginning of the Civil War, but was completed by 1862. The statue stood on the Capitol grounds until the dome was completed. The statue was installed in stages, with the final pieces added in December 1863. Today, the Capitol Visitor Center displays the plaster model of the statue.

Date

12/2/1863 (installed)

Coverage

1860-1889

Source

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. View original.