“The Secret Life of Lady Liberty ranges through history, biology, mythology, and politics to investigate the meaning–and the power–of the Statue of Liberty–enjoyable to read, stimulating, and sometimes inspiring.”
— Elaine Pagels, Ph.D., Harrington Spear Paine Foundation Professor of Religion, Princeton University and author of The Gnostic Gospels
This is not your standard Statue of Liberty book. Instead, this book uses the Statue of Liberty as a focal point to examine the symbolism of the female divine in America, and how focusing on Liberty in the form of a giant woman reveals the untold histories of the many suppressed classes in this country. Seeing Lady Liberty as the Goddess of America leads to the realization that the empowerment of contemporary women is essential for achieving sustainable liberty for all.
The book began with a Lady Liberty Radio series featuring guests on goddess history, Native American culture, art history, the suffragists and women’s rights. Click the link for the podcast to listen to these interviews on 21st Century Radio®, and sign up for email updates for news on how to order the book.
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• Examines Lady Liberty’s ties to Native American spiritual traditions, the Earth Mother, Roman goddesses, Black Madonnas, and Mary Magdalene
• Reveals the sharp contrast between depicting “liberty” as a female and the reality of women and other suppressed classes even today
• Explains how this Goddess of the New World inspires all people toward equality, compassion, peace-keeping, and environmental stewardship
Uncovering the forgotten lineage of the Statue of Liberty, Bob Hieronimus and Laura Cortner explain how she is based on a female symbol representing America on the earliest maps of the continent in the form of a Native American “Queen.” The image of a woman symbolizing independence was embraced by the American revolutionaries to rally the populace against the King, filling the role of “Founding Mother” and protector of the fledgling republic. Incorporating Libertas, the Roman goddess of freed slaves, with Minerva, Demeter, Justice, and the Indian Princess, Lady Liberty is seen all over the nation’s capital, and on the seals and flags of many states.
Showing how a new appreciation for the Statue of Liberty as the American goddess can serve as a unifying inspiration for activism, the authors explore how this Lady Liberty is a personification of America and its destiny. They examine multiple traditions that influenced her symbolism, from the Neolithic Earth Mother, to Mary Magdalene, Columbia, and Joan of Arc, while revealing the sharp contrast between depicting “liberty” as a female and the reality of women and other suppressed classes throughout history. Their study of “Liberty Enlightening the World” led them to conclude that the empowerment of contemporary women is essential for achieving sustainable liberty for all.
Sounding the call for this “Goddess of the New World” to inspire us all toward peace-keeping, nurturing, compassion, and environmental stewardship, the authors explain how the Statue of Liberty serves as the conscience of our nation and is a symbol of both the myths that unite us and the diversity that strengthens us.
“This is an impressive study of the cultural politics of the Statue of Liberty, ranging from Roman Libertas and the emancipation of slaves to women in matrilineal cultures of North America. Along the way, the book dips into the varied iconography of Liberty in folk art and editorial cartoons; European perceptions of Indigenous women and Native origins of U.S. democracy; goddesses, allegorical female figures and Black Madonnas; slavery abolition and women’s suffrage; and imperial “manifest destiny.” The Mohawk art of John Kahionhes Fadden provides a potent counterpoint to Euro-American symbolism. There are some amazing stories in here, including the fact that the abolitionist and feminist Laboulaye’s conception for the statue originated at his 1865 party celebrating the Union victory and emancipation from slavery.”
— Max Dashú, historian and founder of the Suppressed Histories Archives
“This book gives us important insights into the Native American, feminist and environmental aspects of climate change in the American past and future. It is a must read for concerned activists and scholars in the 21st Century.”
— Donald A. Grinde, Jr., Ph.D., Professor of Transnational/American Studies, SUNY, Buffalo, and co-author of Exemplar of Liberty
About the Authors
Robert Hieronimus, Ph.D. is an internationally known historian, visual artist, and radio host and has appeared on History, Discovery, BBC, and National Geographic. The host of 21st Century Radio®, he lives in Maryland. Laura E. Cortner has co-authored previous titles with Robert Hieronimus including Founding Fathers, Secret Societies and United Symbolism of America. Her work appears regularly in periodicals like UFO Magazine, FATE Magazine, and several Beatles publications. She is the director of the Ruscombe Mansion Community Health Center and lives in Maryland.