When a French politician remarked that a monument should be raised in honor of American independence at a dinner party in 1865 he probably didn't imagine that the result would become an international icon of freedom.
And newly released photos by the New York Public Library showcase the building of the iconic symbol of American freedom during her years in Paris between 1877 and 1885 before she was shipped to the United States.
Édouard René de Laboulaye was an ardent supporter of the Union in the American Civil War and was thrilled when they triumphed over the Confederacy in 1865 marking an end to slavery.
During a conversation at his home in Versailles, Laboulaye was heard to say: 'If a monument should rise in the United States, as a memorial to their independence, I should think it only natural if it were built by united effort—a common work of both our nations.'
He may not have meant the comment as a proposal but it was nevertheless overhead by fellow guest and sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi who agreed that such a project would be a suitable joint venture for the France and America to undertake together.
Bartholdi set about designing the Statue of Liberty - an neoclassical sculpture of the Roman god of freedom - but due to the troubled political situation in France work did not commence until the 1870s.
The sculptor had already begun work on the statue's head and torch-bearing arm when on March 3, 1877, President Grant finally signed a joint resolution that authorised the President to accept the statue when it was presented by France.
The resolution stated that France would provide the statue and America the pedestal. The location for the statue was confirmed to be Bedloe's Island (later Liberty Island) just outside Manhattan.
Having got confirmation from America Bartholdi returned to Paris and completed the head which was exhibited at the Paris World Fair the following year.
In 1885 she was finally disassembled and shipped to New York and a ceremony of dedication was held on the afternoon of October 28, 1886 where Bartholdi's hard work was celebrated by a parade watched by hundreds of thousands of Americans.
The statue has been an important symbol of freedom and liberty for America and her allies ever since.