Alice in Wonderland was a gift from the philanthropist and publisher George Delacorte. He intended the donation as a gift to the children of the City and a memorial for his recently deceased wife Margarita (1891–1956), an enthusiastic linguist and reader who helped him to establish his publishing empire. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was her favorite book to read to her children.
The Spanish-American sculptor José de Creeft used the illustrations from the original edition of the book, which was published in 1865, to create the characters. He modeled the face of Alice after his daughter Donna Maria and the Mad Hatter after George Delacorte. The terraced landscape surrounding the sculpture was designed by Hideo Sasaki & Associates and is one of the few examples of modern landscape architecture in Central Park.
At the dedication ceremony in May of 1959, 11 of the Delacortes’ grandchildren unveiled Alice. They then promptly climbed up on the statue, as children still do today.
George Delacorte donated two other popular features to Central Park: the Delacorte Clock next to the Central Park Zoo, and the Delacorte Theater, home to Shakespeare in the Park, a free summer theater program.
Things you can do here
Take a trip through the heart of Central Park.
Tags: History / Staff Picks / Art & Architecture
Enjoy the Park’s quieter season on a walk past its best winter sights.
Tags: Kids and Families / Art & Architecture
Also in the area
We highlight a few trailblazing, but little known, women who inspired or funded a variety of features in Central Park.
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Paul Manship's works, which include the Lehman Gates, are part of a larger tradition of playful sculptures in Central Park.
Tags: Park Design / Playgrounds