It was this month in 1918 that photographers Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas took a picture of the Statue of Liberty.
Except this wasn’t the giant statue that sits in the harbor in New York.
It was a living Statue of Liberty formed with help from 18,000 members of the U.S. military.
The U.S. government was looking to drum up support for the country’s involvement in World War I, especially support for buying more war bonds.
They turned to Mole and Thomas to create a series of what are sometimes called “people pictures.”
The photographers would spend about a week plotting out how to position and dress a large crowd to look like a single giant object.
Then they’d meet up with their subjects in a large field.
For the Statue of Liberty photo, they went to Camp Dodge, Iowa.
Mole and Thomas would climb a tower 70 to 80 feet tall and use a megaphone to send instructions to the soldiers.
This could take a long time, and remember, this was in July, with soldiers in uniform.
It was hot out there!
There were reports of several servicemembers fainting while they were taking the image.
But in the end, Mole, Thomas and the military made it work.
They showed the tip of Lady Liberty’s torch to the bottom of her robes, and everything in between.
The image got plenty of attention.
And so did the other photos in the series, including an American eagle, the Liberty Bell, complete with its signature crack, and a massive living portrait of then-president Woodrow Wilson.
Today in 1939, Frank Sinatra made his first record, singing “From The Bottom Of My Heart” with The Harry James Band.
My favorite Sinatra story comes from the filming of the original version of the movie “Ocean’s Eleven.”
The director would say they needed to film a second take, to which Frank would say, if you want a second take, “print that one twice.”
Human Statue of Liberty (Snopes)
History, Military, Mole & Thomas, Woodrow Wilson, Antique Photograph, 1918 (GeorgeGlazer.com)
The Rat Pack Photographer (Los Angeles Times)