Explore Historic Photos of Immigrants at Ellis Island

For half a century, Ellis Island was the entry point for millions of immigrants arriving from around the world to make the United States their home. The Ellis Island immigration office opened in New York harbor in the late 1800s, just in time for the huge upswing in immigration to the United States that took place in the years leading up to World War I.

The New York Public Library has a beautiful album on Flickr documenting the arrival of immigrants of many different ethnicities to the Port of New York between 1902 and 1914, of which we’ve selected a few favorites here.

Ready for travel and going north, south and west. Immigrants...
Immigrants undergoing medical examination.

The photographs were taken by the Ellis Island Chief Registry Clerk, Augustus Sherman, and collected by the commissioner of Immigration at the Port of New York, William Williams.

Uncle Sam, host. Immigrants being served a free meal at Elli...
[German stowaway.]

The portraits capture new immigrants at the facility waiting for what they needed to leave the island (an escort, or money, or travel tickets).

[Bavarian man.]

Visit the New York Public Library’s Flickr Commons page for more information and to view more of their photography.