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24 Extraordinary Photos Of Immigrants Passing Though Ellis Island

In pursuit of the American dream...

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Between 1892 and 1954, over 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island on their way to a new life.

Located in New York Harbor, Ellis Island was the site of the first Federal immigration station, and for many immigrant families, their first stop in pursuit of the American dream.


An immigrant family (left) on the Island looks across the New York Harbor towards the Statue of Liberty, circa 1930. An elderly woman (right) sleeps while leaning against an Ellis Island railing, circa 1930.


A German stowaway (left) shows off his tattoos for the camera, while a Guadeloupean woman (right) sits for a formal portrait, both images made in 1911.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

An immigrant enjoys a twenty-five cent meal served on the island. The meal consists of soup, bread, meat, potatoes, vegetables, pie, pudding, and coffee. The same meal with a less expensive cut of meat could be bought by the immigrants for seventeen cents.

A Slovak woman (left) poses for a portrait with her children in 1911. A pair of Swedish children (right) hold each others hands before the camera, also 1911.