Ellis Island became the first federal immigration station in the United States, opening in 1892. Designed in the Beaux-Arts style by the New York architectural firm Boring and Tilton, the Main Immigration Building was completed in 1900, replacing the original wood structure destroyed by fire in 1897. From 1892 to 1954 some 12 million immigrants were processed there. [Read more…] about A $17.7M Ellis Island Immigration Building Project
Islands of Punishment and Exclusion
The exclusion of “undesirables” to remote lands has a long history. The shameful attempts by contemporary governments to “solve” the refugee problem in that manner has had precedents.
During the mid-1930s Mussolini dumped socialists and anti-fascists in the inaccessible and malaria-ridden southern areas of the country.
The use of islands as off-shore detention centers has a parallel history. The government of Charles I locked up its opponents at Jersey, Guernsey, or the Isles of Scilly. Having lost the English Civil War, Charles I himself was incarcerated in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. Faced with continuing sedition and agitation, Charles II sent several former leaders of the Interregnum into island isolation. [Read more…] about Islands of Punishment and Exclusion
Castle Clinton: New York’s Almost Forgotten Landmark
An often overlooked and forgotten New York City landmark, Castle Clinton welcomed many of the city’s residents into its walls as a place of innovation, entertainment, and new beginnings.
The circular sandstone fort which currently stands in Battery Park, was built to improve harbor fortifications in 1811. The Southwest Battery, as it was known, never fired a shot. [Read more…] about Castle Clinton: New York’s Almost Forgotten Landmark
Motion Imagery of Ellis Island Revealed in Stereographs
Stereographs were the latter day virtual reality, an inventive means to immerse the viewer into another place and time. Two photographs are exposed simultaneously but from slightly different perspectives. When the final print is viewed through a stereoscope a depth of field is introduced that brings the photograph more to life.
In 2018 I digitally re-imagined many dozens of American Civil War scenes using an animation process that essentially reveals that same depth of field but on more common 2D screens. In doing so, the need for specific viewing equipment is eliminated and the immersive nature of the stereoscope is maintained. [Read more…] about Motion Imagery of Ellis Island Revealed in Stereographs
Statue of Liberty Remains Open On Fee Revenues
The National Park Service has announced that Liberty and Ellis Islands will continue to be open to visitors using revenue generated by National Park Service (NPS) recreation fees and support from its partners. Castle Clinton National Monument at Battery Park in Manhattan, where ticketing for ferries to the Statue of Liberty occurs, will also remain open.
The parks have been open since the beginning of the lapse in appropriations thanks to a previous donation from the State of New York. [Read more…] about Statue of Liberty Remains Open On Fee Revenues
Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island Reopen With NYS Funds
Funds from New York State will reopened the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island today, in the wake of the U.S. government shutdown that closed the two iconic federally operated historic sites on Friday.
The two sites have played important parts in America’s immigration history and have a significant impact on the New York State economy. According to an annual report by the National Park Service, 4.5 million people visited Liberty Island in 2016, generating $263.2 million in visitor spending per year and supporting 3,400 jobs, with an economic output of $364 million. [Read more…] about Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island Reopen With NYS Funds
Ellis Island Foundation’s Stephen Briganti Recognized
At the 2014 Organization of American Historians (OAH) Annual Meeting, OAH President Alan M. Kraut and OAH President-Elect Patricia Limerick presented Stephen A. Briganti, president and chief executive officer of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, with the 2014 Friend of History Award.
The OAH gives the Friend of History Award to an institution or organization, or an individual working primarily outside college or university settings, for outstanding support of historical research, the public presentation of American history, or the work of the OAH. [Read more…] about Ellis Island Foundation’s Stephen Briganti Recognized
Sandy Damage Along Historic Waterfront, Islands
Hurricane Sandy’s damage to historic areas was concentrated along the waterfronts, islands and harbor in the New York area. Information is quite sparse at present, since power is still lacking in many places, and officials have not made damage assessment tours. [Read more…] about Sandy Damage Along Historic Waterfront, Islands
2012 Ellis Island Family Heritage Awardees Announced
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation has announced the recipients of its annual Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards, which honor distinguished Americans who trace their ancestry through Ellis Island, and the B.C. Forbes Peopling of America Award recognizing individuals who themselves immigrated to America. The Awards will be presented on April 19th at a ceremony to be held in the historic Great Hall on Ellis Island. The 2012 honorees are:
Angela Lansbury – The B.C. Forbes Peopling of America Award – Entertainment
This London-born actress, who returns to Broadway this year in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, began her ascendancy up the ranks of American entertainment ladder shortly after her family evacuated to New York City in 1940, just days before the London blitz. Her first of over 50 films, Gaslight, won her an Oscar nomination. Since then, she has been a star of film, stage and television for seven decades, garnering her five Tonys, six Golden Globes, three Oscar nominations, and over 15 Emmy nominations. In 1994, Queen Elizabeth II appointed her Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the dramatic arts. She is also a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors in 2000. Lansbury became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1951.
Richard Meier – Ellis Island Family Heritage Award – The Arts/Architecture
Born in Newark, New Jersey, Richard Meier is a Pritzker Prize-winning architect who designed the Getty Center in Los Angeles. His distinct minimalist style of has garnered him 10 honorary degrees, numerous design awards as well as the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 1997. He has taught at many universities including Princeton, Harvard and UCLA. With current projects underway in Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and his hometown, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the American Academy in Rome. His maternal grandfather – a leather tannery owner – Joseph Kaltenbacher, emigrated from Germany through Ellis Island in 1896.
Anthony “Tony” La Russa, Jr. – Ellis Island Family Heritage Award – Sports
Tony La Russa was born in Tampa, Florida, where his paternal grandparents had settled after arriving from Sicily thru Ellis Island in 1906. As an infielder, La Russa began his career with the Kansas City Athletics in 1963. Turning to managing in 1979, he became one of the longest tenured managers in the history of Major League Baseball. He spent 32 years at the helm of the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, and St. Louis Cardinals, where he topped the Cards’ managerial win list with 1,408 victories. He ranks third in all-time major league wins by a manager, holding six league championships and three World Series titles, most recently with the Cardinals in 2011. A staunch advocate for animal rescue, La Russa, his wife Elaine and their daughters founded ARF (Animal Rescue Foundation) in 1991, which aids homeless and abandoned animals and uses them to help people in need.
The ceremony will be hosted by journalist Meredith Vieira and will mark the 120th anniversary of the opening of Ellis Island on New Year’s Day 1892. Until it closed in 1954, Ellis would process 17 million immigrants. Forty percent of Americans today can trace their roots to an ancestor who was among them.
Throughout its 10 year history, the Ellis Island Family Heritage Awards have recognized more than 40 individuals, among them Dr. Madeleine Albright, Irving Berlin, Yogi Berra, Lee Iacocca, Jerry Seinfeld, Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, Mary Higgins Clark, General Colin Powell, Martin Scorsese, and Bruce Springsteen.
More information can be found online.
Statue of Liberty Book Celebrates 125 Years
A new book written in celebration of the Statue of Liberty’s 125th birthday (October 28, 2011) has been published to support projects of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. The Statue of Liberty: A Symbol of Hope and Freedom for 125 Years, is a commemorative, photo-and-fact-filled journal that spans the statue’s beginnings as an idea of French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, to becoming a symbol of welcome to millions of immigrants, her quirky role in American pop culture, and the historic 1986 restoration.
The book is offered for $9.99 through the Ellis Island online gift shop. Proceeds support the The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.
Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.