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In pics: Ellis Island and its 'huddled masses'

Archive photographs show “the tired, the poor” – and the occasional imposter Russian prince – who made up the millions passing through US immigration terminal from 1892.
Jan 1st 2013, 11:00 AM 14,769 21

THIS SUMMER, THE National Trust for Historic Preservation announced that the hospital complex at Ellis Island should be included in its list of endangered historic places in the US.

Ellis Island, located in New York harbour, was the first piece of land on which millions of immigrants – including many from Ireland – set foot on their journey to a new life in America. The hospital complex is yet to be restored properly and is currently sealed off to the public – it operated between the years of 1902 and 1930. (Ellis Island opened as an entry point for incoming ships ten years earlier and continued as such until 1954).

In one year alone, 1907, over one million immigrants passed through Ellis Island, carrying their history and their hopes for the future with them. The very first one to come ashore, back on January 2, 1892, was a 13-year-old Irish girl Annie Moore. She landed with her two brothers, having set sail from Cobh, Co Cork 11 days earlier on the SS Nevada. She and her younger brothers were reunited with her parents and lived in New York. A statue representing Annie now stands at Ellis Island – with a twin one standing in Cobh, where she started her journey.

These photos, archived by the Press Association, give a sense of the masses of people who passed through the station and – for most of them – eventually left it behind for a new life in the US.

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Susan Daly


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