Skip To Content
  • Turn Up To Vote badge

24 Extraordinary Photos Of Immigrants Passing Though Ellis Island

In pursuit of the American dream...

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.

Mpi / Getty Images

A view of Ellis Island in 1895.

Fotosearch / Getty Images

A family of immigrants patiently sits on a bench in Ellis Island, circa 1880.

Getty Images
Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

The main waiting hall of Ellis Island as seen in 1880.

Fotosearch / Getty Images

Immigrants aboard the S.S. Pennland make their way to New York Harbor in 1888.

Interim Archives / Getty Images

Newly arrived immigrants disembark from the passenger steamer Thomas C. Millard upon their arrival, circa 1900.

Augustus Sherman / New York Public Library
Augustus Sherman / New York Public Library

A young Italian woman (left) and an Algerian man sit for formal portraits in 1911.

Rex / REX/Shutterstock

A health inspection is seen taking place for new immigrants entering the United States in 1920.

Fpg / Getty Images

An Eastern European immigrant mother and her children sit and wait during the early 20th Century.

Augustus Sherman / New York Public Library
Augustus Sherman / New York Public Library

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.

Getty Images

An Immigration Officer places a label on the lapel of a mother as her family looks on, circa 1880.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Immigrants enjoy their first Christmas dinner in the United States, 1920.

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.

Augustus Sherman / New York Public Library
Augustus Sherman / New York Public Library

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.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

A group of women from Guadeloupe in the West Indies after their arrival at Ellis Island, on board the S.S. Korona in 1911.

Augustus Sherman / New York Public Library

A group photograph of newly-arrived immigrants in traditional garb, 1911.

Augustus Sherman / New York Public Library
Augustus Sherman / New York Public Library

A Bavarian man (left) and a Ruthenian woman (right) sit for a formal portrait in 1911.

Library Of Congress / AP

In this photo made between 1907 and 1917, a group of immigrants await their inspection by U.S. immigrant officers on Ellis Island.

Edwin Levick / Getty Images

A group of immigrants traveling aboard a ship celebrate as they catch their first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York Harbor.

Nostalgia Trip

Take a trip down memory lane that’ll make you feel nostalgia AF

Newsletter signup form