02/23/11

Struggles as an Immigrant

This is the room where immigrants wait during their examination process as Ellis Island.

Children are forced to work in factories in order to help the family.

Being an immigrant in the early 1900′s was simply horrible. Not only was it a struggle to be admitted into the country, but once in the country there are many more struggles ahead.  In the first picture, it shows immigrants at Ellis Island waiting for days just to go through an examination process. Once they enter the country, they have to start from scratch and make a living. Often time, it’s so difficult that children are employed in factories for very low wages. These children shown in picture two are usually treated poorly and have a high chance of death through their work at the factories.

02/23/11

Land of Hopes and Dreams

Photograph taken by Jacob Riis, depicting the cramped living condition's of the Irish immigrant's in 1889, New York

This photograph, take in 1910, depicts the arrival of russian-Jew’s in Ellis Island

Towards the end of the 18th century, the Russian Czar, Alexander ii was assassinated in the midst of implementing his reforms for the jewish community. After the assassination, riots began to form that mainly targeted the Jew’s and the jew’s were blamed for starting the riot’s. Due to the hate crimes that ravaged russia at that time, many Jew’s began to immigrate to different part’s of the world but mainly to the United States because of overly exaggerated rumor’s of hope and oppurtunities that can be achieved. By 1924, about two millon Jew’s immigrated to the United States to escape from persecution from their homeland.

Many Immigrants from Italy immigrated to the United State’s in search for a better life filled with economic oppurtunities. Many italian immigrants settled in different regions of America but most Italians settled in New York. By 1910 about 500,000 italian’s had settled in New York. Upon arriving, Italians occupied jobs that did not require much skill’s or education such as construction worker or janitorial services. As for their living conditions, their living conditions were horribly crowded and very unsanitary.

02/23/11

Checking from Coast to Coast

Chinese immigrant getting checked at Angel Island, San Francisco Bay

Immigrants receiving a skin test for infectious diseases at Ellis Island.

These images both portray immigrants being subject to checks of their current health. Whether you are coming form the East coast at Ellis Island or the West coast at Angel Island, immigrants get their health checked for any infectious diseases. Immigrants had to pass through numerous examinations before they can enter the States. It goes to show how much of a struggle it is to migrate to the United States. It’s a struggle just to leave your country, but then once you arrive, you must go through different examinations before you can enter.

02/21/11

“This can not be what I signed up for!” Where are the Paved Streets of Gold!

Italian woman immigrant, Ellis Island, New York : Sherman, Augustus F. (Augustus Francis), 1865-1925 -- Photographer

Differing very little from their ancestors, many European immigrants came to the US seeking  a better life with a hope of economic relief.  The freedom of religion; escape from racial and/or political persecution.  Many did not dream that with the hard journey across the world, life in America would be full of extreme hardship.  Many of them had to endure low wages, poor work conditions and overcrowded living situations.  Yes it was better then there place of origin. Yet if life was too hard many immigrants went back home.

A tenement gleaner, New York City (1900-1937) Hine, Lewis Wickes, 1874-1940 -- Photographer

The two photograph above were taken in the early 1900s.  Both picture are similar in the aspect that both women seem as if they are very unhappy.  The woman sitting appears to be quite sad.  She seems like a well bred woman from Italy.  Whom may have came for all that America had to offer.  The woman carrying the large bag, by her dingy clothes seems  to be working or living in hard conditions.  She is an example of what America was offering.  I chose these photographs because of the differences and to show that many of the woman that came into the US during that time, had to work to survive, no matter what they believed the America was suppose to be like.

Anonymous Quote:  Recollections of 1900′s immigrant

“I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, found out three things: First, the streets weren’t paved with gold; second, they weren’t paved at all: and third, I was expected to pave them.”

02/21/11

Coming to America

This is a picture of the RMS Titanic. It was supposed to bring hundreds of immigrants to America, but sunk right off the American coast in 1912.

Emigrants coming up the board-walk from the barge, which has taken them off the steamship company's docks, and transported them to Ellis Island. The big building in the background is the new hospital just opened. The ferry-boat seen in the middle of the picture, runs from New York to Ellis Island. Taken in 1902.

The biggest differences about the two photographs depicted above is the classes shown. In the first picture, of the RMS Titanic, we see a massive ship that was intended for the upper class. Only the highest class were aboard this ship, and they have a wonderful journey, up until they hit an iceberg. However, if they had not hit an iceberg there travel would have been summed up as luxurious. In the second picture we see middle and lower class people arriving in America. Odds are their journey was much more difficult than the people aboard the Titanic. They look like they just had a hard journey, and they will probably have a hard life here in America as well.

When immigrants came to America it wasn’t easy. Most of them were discriminated against. A few of them came over with a lot of money, but for most it was a hard journey. Many people were even deported back to their home country if America didn’t want to accept them in. This happened if they had diseases, if they were prostitutes, or if they were seen as anarchists.

02/20/11

No Exemption without Inspection!

Doctor’s Examination at Ellis Island

Final Discharge from Ellis Island


The top picture depicts a doctor’s examination office in Ellis Island where a man is stopped from passing because he’s suspected of defective eyesight. He was detained for further examination to determine if the defect will prevent him from earning a living. This picture was published in 1902. Millions of immigrants passed through Ellis Island where they were examined for disease or other undesirable attributes.

The second picture shows the final discharge area from Ellis Island. This must have been a relief for most immigrants were probably anxious about passing the physical exams. After passing that aisle, they are in America, where they could start anew. This picture was also published in 1902.

02/19/11

The Struggle to and in America

Crowded ship

The S.S. Batavia carried 2,584 immigrants to Ellis Island on June 8, 1903. This ship set a record for the greatest number of passengers to arrive at New York City at one time.


Chinese immigrants

Although America was said to be the land of great opportunity, many immigrants had to endure many hardships. For example the Chinese immigrants in the photo above had to cramp into small rooms and call it home.

The first photo gives a clear image of how crowded immigrant ships were during the early 1900s. Lucky for these people, they were able to pass inspections and literacy exams that ultimately allowed them access to American. However, their struggles for a better life didn’t end there. In the second photo, chinese immigrants who were lucky enough to pass through Ellis Island had to live in cramped spaces. Often times immigrants of all ethnicity came to American with little to no money, which forced immigrants to share small tenements with others. The tenements were often dirty and crowded making it very difficult to even find a place to sleep. By comparing the two images, it is clear the different struggles immigrants had to live through coming to and living in America.

02/18/11

Immigrants and Ellis Island

Medical examination Ellis Island, 1910, from Library of Congress

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Ellis Island, 1911, from Library of Congress

The pictures are from the Library of Congress. Although both pictures depict the immigrants in Ellis Island around the same time, the pictures are taken under different circumstances. The first one was taken while the officers were giving medical examinations to the immigrants, so the photographer can record a natural depiction of the scene. On the other hand, the second picture was taken while everyone was aware of the photographer, so most of the people in the second picture was looking straight to the camera. Despite of the different atmosphere in the photographs, both pictures convey a sense of weariness. This is reasonable because the long and tedious immigration processes could only wear out the liveliness of the immigrants and officers.