Strengthen The Arm of Liberty - Background

Background

Hundreds of smaller replicas of the Statue of Liberty have been created worldwide. The classical appearance (Roman stola, sandals, facial expression) derives from Libertas, ancient Rome's goddess of freedom from slavery, oppression, and tyranny. Her raised right foot is on the move. This symbol of Liberty and Freedom is not standing still or at attention in the harbor, it is moving forward, as her left foot tramples broken shackles at her feet, in symbolism of the United States' wish to be free from oppression and tyranny.

Between 1949 and 1952, approximately two hundred 100-inch (2.5 m) replicas of the statue, made of stamped copper, were purchased by Boy Scout troops and donated in 39 states in the U.S. and several of its possessions and territories. The project was the brainchild of Kansas City businessman, J.P. Whitaker, who was then Scout Commissioner of the Kansas City Area Council.

The copper statues were manufactured by Friedley-Voshardt Co. (Chicago, Illinois) and purchased through the Kansas City Boy Scout office by those wanting one. The statues are approximately 81⁄2 feet tall without the base, constructed of sheet copper, weigh 290 pounds, and originally cost $350 plus freight. The mass-produced statues are not great art nor meticulously accurate (a conservator notes that "her face isn't as mature as the real Liberty. It's rounder and more like a little girl's"), but they are cherished. Many have been lost or destroyed, but preservationists have been able to account for about a hundred of them, and BSA Troop 101 of Cheyenne, Wyoming has collected photographs of over 100 of them.

Examples of the statues can be found at Fayetteville, Arkansas, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Greeley, Colorado, at the Mississippi riverfront in Burlington, Iowa, at Overland Park, Kansas and at Chimborazo Park in Richmond, Virginia.

A Strengthen the Arm of Liberty brass pin was also available for uniform and civilian wear. The pin is in the shape of the Statue of Liberty superimposed on a fleur de lis. The Robbins Company, which made BSA's Eagle medals for many years, made these pins and the winged "R" hallmark is prominently displayed on the reverse. In addition, a commemorative neckerchief slide was made for Boy Scouts and for the Cub Scouts.

Over the years, the copper skins on several of the miniature statues began to take on oxidation, prefectly resembling the statue from which they are modeled, and several more had been renovated, and repaired, the statue in Burlington had been taken from its original position in Dankwardt Park, completely renovated, repaired, and polished, and then placed on a pedestal at the riverfront, where it sits today.

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