New York City is full of rich history. Numerous buildings throughout the Big Apple are treasure troves of stories of family, friendship, and tragedy. One home in New York, the Emma Lazarus House, falls under the tragic category.
Take a peek into the lives of New York City’s elite in the nineteenth century and discover the story of Emma Lazarus. Her influence still lives on in the city and inspires those seeking refuge and liberty. US Ghost Adventures will show you all the vivid details of the historical and the haunted. Sign up today to discover the spooky side of NYC.
A Poet, Socialite, and Lady Liberty’s Immortal Words
Emma Lazarus was the daughter of Esther and Moses Nathan, one of the oldest Jewish families in the city. During her early years, she was well-educated and often attended classes with prominent private tutors. By the time she reached her twenties, she was already becoming a part of the city’s elite.
The Lazarus family moved into the Italianate-style residence in 1883. Moses Lazarus, the father, had amassed his fortunes as a sugar merchant and partner in the Johnson & Lazarus firm. The neighborhood was a haven for New York’s artists, with prominent figures like the painter John La Farge and artists Winslow Homer and Albert Bierstadt on the same block.
Emma herself was an avid poet, and she fit right into the fashionable neighborhood. Some of her work attracted the attention of famous essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson. Also, she had several of her poems published in some of New York’s most-read newspapers.
Perhaps the most well-known of her poems is “The New Colossus,” which Emma wrote as an homage to Liberty. It is from this poem that the Statue of Liberty gets its current inscription: “Give me your tired, your poor/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.