The Boy Scouts of America Celebrate their 40th Anniversary with 'Strengthen the Arm of Liberty' Campaign
On May 27, 1950, nearly 1,000 Boy Scouts marched through downtown Cheyenne, Wyo., on their way to the state capitol grounds to dedicate an eight-foot-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty.
“This should be a proud day for Wyoming,” Gov. Arthur Crane told the crowd attending the ceremony. “First, there are patriotic citizens who voluntarily give of their time to guide and direct the Scouts of Cheyenne and vicinity. Secondly, there are youthful citizens faithfully following the Scout Oath. Thirdly, they have chosen the objective for the year, ‘Strengthen the Arm of Liberty.’”
Between 1949 and 1952, in town after town across America, similar celebrations took place as Scouts dedicated more than 200 of the copper “Little Sisters of Liberty.”
The Boy Scouts of America celebrated their fortieth anniversary in 1950 with the theme of Strengthen the Arm of Liberty. The campaign was inaugurated in February with a dramatic ceremony held at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
Hundreds of smaller replicas of the Statue of Liberty have been created worldwide. The classical appearance (Roman stola, sandals, facial expression) derives from Libertas, ancient Rome's goddess of freedom from slavery, oppression, and tyranny. Her raised right foot is on the move. This symbol of Liberty and Freedom is not standing still or at attention in the harbor, it is moving forward, as her left foot tramples broken shackles at her feet, in symbolism of the United States' wish to be free from oppression and tyranny.
Between 1949 and 1952, approximately two hundred 100-inch (2.5 m) replicas of the statue, made of stamped copper, were purchased by Boy Scout troops and donated in 39 states in the U.S. and several of its possessions and territories. The project was the brainchild of Kansas City businessman, J.P. Whitaker, who was then Scout Commissioner of the Kansas City Area Council.
The copper statues were manufactured by Friedley-Voshardt Co. (Chicago, Illinois) and purchased through the Kansas City Boy Scout office by those wanting one. The statues are approximately 8 1/2 feet tall without the base, constructed of sheet copper, weigh 290 pounds, and originally cost $350 plus freight. The mass-produced statues are not great art nor meticulously accurate (a conservator notes that "her face isn't as mature as the real Liberty. It's rounder and more like a little girl's"), but they are cherished. Many have been lost or destroyed, but preservationists have been able to account for about a hundred of them, and BSA Troop 101 of Cheyenne, Wyoming has collected photographs of over 100 of them.
Examples of the statues can be found at Fayetteville, Arkansas, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and at Chimborazo Park in Richmond, Virginia.
All across America, towns are shining up a symbol of freedom—200 little sisters of liberty that were dedicated from 1949 to 1951. After decades of neglect, these replicas of the Statue of Liberty are starring again in scores of communities united by pride and love of country.
The 8-foot-4-inch copper statues grace parks, main streets, schools, city halls, courthouses, and capitals. Gifts to towns from the Boy Scouts of America to celebrate their 40th anniversary theme “Strengthen the Arm of Liberty,” the statues are standing up for freedom once again.