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

    Ellis Island

    Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument NJ,NY

Primary Sources for your Classroom

Historic photograph of two young men who immigrated through Ellis Island in 1910 along with the ship's manifest their names appeared on.

Primary source collage of a historic photo and document.

NPS Photo

Primary sources are powerful tools to help bring history alive for students. Original documents, objects, photographs, and other firsthand accounts help students better understand the past.

This collection is meant to assist you in bringing priceless primary sources about Ellis Island in to the classroom. The items available here have been specifically selected to be useful in your classroom, either as part of a lesson plan or integrated into your curriculum.

Two resources for both finding and using primary sources with students are the Library of Congress (LOC) and the National Archives (NARA). Each website has fantastic tools for teachers.

LOC's Using Primary Sources page for teachers contains steps for using primary sources in the classroom, teacher's guides, analysis tools, and other helpful information for teachers.

NARA's Getting Started with Primary Sources in the Classroom page for teachers contains information and resources about using primary sources, resources for National History Day, and links to "Today's Document" and "DocsTeach" online resources.

If you have any suggestions for other primary sources you would like to see available on this page, please e-mail us.

Did You Know?

Southside of Ellis Island

Ellis Island's south side contains 25 buildings that are mostly unrestored. These structures included general hospitals, isolation and psychiatric facilities for immigrants needing treatment or isolation. The U.S. Public Health Service staffed these facilities during the station's operation. More...