• Immigrants awaiting inspection in front of Ellis Island's Main Building

    Ellis Island

    Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument NJ,NY

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Ellis Island is open on a limited basis while repairs continue.

    Ellis Island has reopened on a limited basis. Due to the nature of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, parts of the historic Main Building and museum remain closed at this time. The museum's artifacts remain in off-site storage. More »

Catherine Remembers Her First Day in America


Catherine Remembers Her First Day in America (Transcript)

Interviewee: Catherine Hannon English
Date of Birth: May 3, 1910
Date of Interview: November 17,1991
Interviewer: Paul E. Sigrist, Jr.
Immigrated from Poland in 1920 at age 10
Ellis Island Collection: EI-116

English (First Impression of America):

There were children coming from school. And they were so sloppy looking. I thought they were orphans or something. I had visions of beautiful ribbons on their hair and the kids didn't have uniforms or anything. Then we got out at, we came up to 63rd Street and then they, the streets were so dirty. Garbage all around the place and I couldn't get here fast enough, that everything was so beautiful and clean and all this. But it, I soon broke in with the whole thing.

Download Copy of Transcript: Hannon English Impression Transcript

Did You Know?

Angel Island aerial cropped2

From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay processed approximately 1 million Asian immigrants entering into the US, leading to it sometimes being referred to as "The Ellis Island of the West". Due to the restrictions of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, many immigrants spent years on the island, waiting for entry. Access to the island is by private boat or public ferry from San Francisco, Tiburon or Vallejo. Ferry services are reduced during the winter. More...