Century Old Photos of Ellis Island Immigrants Show What They Left Behind
April 22, 2016 10:40 am Last Updated: September 23, 2016 3:03 pm
From 1892 to 1954, Ellis Island saw over 12 million immigrants pass through its inspection station. The first person to go through was a 17-year-old Irish girl on Jan. 1, 1892. But many got stuck on the island, waiting for money, an escort, or a transportation ticket.
Personal stories of these American wannabes inspired the amateur photographer Augustus Sherman. As Ellis Island’s office clerk, he had a unique opportunity to capture immigrants in their national dress. Most of the immigrants were Europeans that had left home because of financial deprivation or persecution.
During years 1906 to 1914, Sherman created unique portraits that were just recently rediscovered.
Today almost a 100 million Americans can trace back their ancestry to Ellis Island immigrants. What their stories were is left unanswered.