Opening Wednesday, October 26th at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, is an exhibition celebrating the life and work of poet and activist, Emma Lazarus, author of the poem affixed to the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”
This exhibition explores many of the facets of Lazarus’ life as a fourth generation Sephardic-American, her work as an early advocate for immigrants and a Jewish homeland as well as her life in the “gilded” intellectual and artistic circles in which she moved in turn of the century New York City. It is this aspect of her life in which the Lilly Manuscripts Department provides some insight and documentation.
The Lilly is home to the Gilder manuscript collection (1781–1984), which consists of the correspondence and papers of poet and editor Richard Watson Gilder and his wife, the artist Helena de Kay Gilder, and their family. Emma Lazarus was a part of the Gilder’s social and artistic milieu.
This exceptionally rich and interesting collection consists of 23,000 items and is open for use by researchers and the interested public.