Emma Lazarus Share

Millions have been moved by the words, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…,” but few know the story behind them. Emma Lazarus: Poet of Exiles, which marks the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, is the first major museum exhibition about Lazarus, and includes rare artifacts that explore her unique story and message. It will be on view through summer 2012.

This exhibition brings new insights into the world of Emma Lazarus—writer, advocate, and fourth-generation Jewish American. It explores her Sephardic background, her family's participation in American life, and her work for Jewish causes. Visitors learn how Emma Lazarus was inspired to craft an iconic message that addressed exile, immigration, and the promise of America.

Melissa Martens, the director of Collections and Exhibitions, curated the exhibition. She says, "The Museum of Jewish Heritage–which overlooks the Statue of Liberty and explores Jewish experiences of immigration, exile, and home—is the perfect context in which to present the life and works of Emma Lazarus. As New York celebrates the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, we are reminded of Emma Lazarus's enduring message of welcome. Her words turned the Statue into a beacon of hope for newcomers."


Press Contacts:
Abby Spilka
Betsy Aldredge

Download the press release

Read the review in The New York Times.



is a downloadable walking tour app visiting 19
historic sites in New York City that helped shape
Lazarus’ legacy.

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This exhibition is made possible, in part, through the generous support of the Righteous Persons Foundation, the Pickman Exhibition Fund, The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, David Berg Foundation, American Express, Patti Askwith Kenner and Family, George Klein, Klara and Larry Silverstein, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, The Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation, Salo W. and Jeannette M. Baron Foundation, Con Edison, and David Bruce Smith Family Foundation.

New York Magazine and Jewish Week are media partners.



Further Reading: Nextbook Press'
"The New Colossus"

Annotated by Esther Schor


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