Born: July 22, 1849, in New York City, New York, United States

Died: November 19, 1887, in New York City, New York, United States

Emma Lazarus was born into a refined Spanish Jewish family. When she was quite young she learned languages and the classics. Her first book of poems and translations was published in 1867. It attracted the attention of Ralph Waldo Emerson who established contact with her.

When Lazarus was 21, Admetus and Other Poems was published. Works of other forms followed such as Alide, The Spagnoletto, and Poems and Ballads of Heinrich Heine.

The New Colossus, published in 1883, is Lazarus' most celebrated work. The sonnet is inscribed on a bronze plaque inside the base of the Statue of Liberty. Its warm, inspiring words welcome the oppressed to the safe retreat of the United States of America.