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, including most of the exhibits, remain closed at this time. More »
Catherine Remembers the Hair Exam
Catherine Remembers the Hair Exam (Transcript)
Interviewee: Catherine Gaetano Gallippi
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."
Did You Know?
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...