The Secret Life of Lady Liberty

Posted on in Art + Soul by Richard Hamilton

By Bob Hieronimus and Laura Cortner

The entertaining and elucidating new book The Secret Life of Lady Liberty by Bob Hieronimus and Laura Cortner offers surprising and deep meaning behind the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty. Intriguing revelations include that Lady Liberty was initially based on female symbols representing America on the earliest maps of the continent, which were then in the form of a Native American “queen.” This same image provided a symbol of independence to early revolutionaries to help them rile up the colonists against the Crown, fulfilling the role of “founding mother.”

Drawing on painstaking research and their own extensive knowledge of esoteric history, the authors also explain the more obscure meanings behind the symbol. Various traditions have influenced her symbolism, from the Neolithic Earth Mother, to Mary Magdalene, Columbia, and Joan of Arc, among others. Perhaps most interesting, Hieronimus and Cortner reveal the sharp contrast between depicting “liberty” as female and the reality of women and other suppressed classes throughout history. The idea that the Statue of Liberty provides “Liberty Enlightening the World” leads the authors to the groundbreaking but logical conclusion that the empowerment of contemporary women is essential for achieving sustainable liberty. The book serves as a clarion call from this “Goddess of the New World” to inspire us all toward peacekeeping, nurturing, compassion, and environmental stewardship. The Secret Life of Lady Liberty is a moving and inspiring read. Anyone with an interest in feminism or American history will find something to learn is this well-researched and well-written book. The conclusions drawn by the authors make this a truly groundbreaking read.


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