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    Ellis Island

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Catherine Remembers the Hair Exam


Catherine Remembers the Hair Exam (Transcript)

Interviewee: Catherine Gaetano Gallippi
Date of Birth: February 17, 1914
Date of Interview: December 12, 1990
Interviewer: Paul E. Sigrist, Jr.
Immigrated from Italy at Age 8 in 1922
Ellis Island Collection: EI-17

Gallippi (At Ellis Island): Oh yes. This young woman here, she, they were examining her hair. She had it braided up so beautifully because, I guess, she was going to meet someone, you know. And they unbraided all her hair and evidently they found something there because they were clipping her hair, just cutting here and there. And she started to cry. She said, "But your cutting my hair!" She says, "Well, my dear, if you want to be in America, we want to make sure that your hair is clean."

Download Copy of Transcript: Gallippi Haircut Transcript

Did You Know?

Old Elliscropped

When Ellis Island was opened in 1892, the facility bore little resemblance to the Renaissance Revival/Beaux Arts structure that people have come to know today. Made out of Georgia pine, the complex caught fire on June 15, 1897 and burned to the ground in about 6 hours. The current building was opened on December 17, 1900.