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

    Ellis Island

    Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument NJ,NY

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?

resized black_tom Saturday Evening Post

On July 30, 1916, a major explosion at the railway terminals on the Black Tom Wharf in Jersey City did considerable damage to the Ellis Island buildings. The walls, ceilings, roofs and foundations of the hospital buildings were weakened, and many windows, casings and doors were blown out. The repairs to the facilities took about a year at a cost of nearly $400,000.00(about $8,333,333.33 in 2012).