Citing an Inscription

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The Fourth of July is fast-approaching! That means it’s time for fireworks; red, white and blue; and outdoor barbecues with family and friends. With the patriotic spirit in the air, Independence Day provides the perfect opportunity to pay homage to the people and places that shaped the United States of America. 

Although there are many famous memorials and statues that celebrate the USA, the Statue of Liberty may be the most well known. Dedicated in 1886 (and given to the U.S. as a gift from France), Lady Liberty has long-served as a physical representation of America’s independence and freedom. Part of that is because of Emma Lazarus’ famous poem emblazoned on the side, which reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” 

With the symbolic significance of Lady Liberty, the poem’s inscription would be perfect to cite for a variety of course projects and papers—and we’re here to help! Today, we’re taking a look at how to cite a memorial inscription for MLA, APA and Chicago styles. For all three common citation styles, we’ve included a handy example showing you how a citation would look for the Statue of Liberty’s inscription.

Before you start, look for the following information:

  1. Name of the author/creator of the inscription
  2. Monument’s name/title
  3. Date the memorial was unveiled or created
  4. Date you viewed or accessed the monument

Now that you’ve had a chance to find the necessary info, take a look below at the basic formatting and our Statue of Liberty examples for MLA, APA and Chicago styles.

MLA citations for inscriptions

First, let’s take a look at what our MLA citation would be. 

Formula for MLA citations:

Last Name of Author, First Name of Author. “Inscription Title/Description.” Monument Title, City, State, Publication/unveiling Date of Inscription.

Now let’s apply the formula to using the Statue of Liberty inscription.

Example in MLA style:

Lazarus, Emma. “The New Colossus.” Statue of Liberty, New York, New York. 1883.

APA references for inscriptions

Here’s the same Statue of Liberty inscription cited in APA style.

Formula for an APA reference:

Last Name of Author, First Initial of Author. (Year Inscription was Published/Unveiled). Monument Title [One-word description of what’s being cited].City, State.

Example in APA style:

Lazarus, E. (1883). Statue of Liberty [Inscription]. New York, New York.

Chicago citations for inscriptions

Lastly, let’s take a look at the Statue of Liberty inscription as a Chicago style citation.

Formula for a Chicago style citation:

Last Name of Author, First Name of Author. Inscription Title/Description, Publication/unveiling Date of Inscription. Medium. Monument Title, City, State. Date you viewed/visited the memorial.

Example in Chicago style:

Lazarus, Emma. The New Colossus, 1883. Inscription carving. Statue of Liberty, New York, New York. Viewed May 14, 2019.


After you finish citing your paper, check  the handy Citation Machine essay checker! It can help you spot writing errors and polish your paper. There are also fun and free grammar guides that show you examples of interjections, how to put together a research paper outline, what is a conjunctive adverb, and much more!

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