Ellis Island in New York harbor processed more than 12 million immigrants before being closed in 1954. At the station’s peak in 1907, more than one million immigrants passed through in a single year, with 3,000 to 5,000 entering every day, mostly from Europe and its periphery.
Augustus Francis Sherman was the chief registry clerk at Ellis Island, and an avid amateur photographer. He had special access to the immigrants who were temporarily detained while waiting on escorts, money or travel tickets. Sherman persuaded many of these immigrants to pose for his camera, encouraging them to put on their finest clothes or national dress. A collection of his photographs are now available online at http://mashable.com/2015/09/07/ellis-island-portraits/. A larger collection can be seen in person at the New York Public Library.
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