Bob Hope Memorial Library
The Bob Hope Memorial Library at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum contains books, periodicals, contemporary and historical photographs, film and video productions, unpublished manuscripts, archival collections, oral history interviews and other research materials relating to the history of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, immigration history and the National Park Service. While these materials can only be used on-site, the library staff provides public reference services including research assistance, photo, text and audio duplication (including digital copies) and general reference services. The Library is open to the public, but researchers are advised to make appointments in advance and are required to sign a registration form acknowledging certain research regulations. Please note that no original immigration records are located in the Library. Here is how you can learn more about searching for ancestors' records.
Archives and Special Collections
The Library holds a large collection of photographs documenting the history of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. These images include the construction of the Ellis Island Immigration Station in the late 19th century, processing of immigrants during the period 1890-1920s as well as World War II detainees. More recent images include the National Park Service operations on both islands from the post World War II period through the restoration of the Statue and the Ellis Island buildings in the 1980s up to the present. The Library holds the most diverse collection of contemporary images of both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island available anywhere.
Some unique collections include photos of individual immigrants taken by Augustus Sherman and Colonel John Weber, both employees of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; the administrative records of the American Museum of Immigration (Liberty Island); the engineering and construction records of the restoration projects for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island during the 1980s up to the present; the archives of the Ellis Island Restoration Commission; and a number of collections of personal papers of individuals who worked at Ellis Island immigration station including Maud Mosher and Ludmilla Foxlee. The Library files also include a wide variety of National Park Service historical and technical reports including administrative histories of the Statue of Liberty National Monument; archaeological studies, historic structure reports and cultural landscape reports done for Liberty and Ellis Islands; museum exhibit plans and archives and park environmental studies.
Access to the Library
The Library, located on the third floor west wing of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, is open Monday through Friday (except for Federal Holidays) from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
Research and duplication requests should be made in advance by contacting the Library staff by e-mail at STLI_Library@nps.gov, by telephone at 212-363-3206, extension 158 or by fax at: 212-363-6302 or by mail at:
The oral history collection is available during regular library hours in the Oral History Listening Room, part of the library complex. These interviews are in a searchable database in the computer stations in this room. On- screen instructions at each station assist the user in locating the desired interview. These computers contain oral history interviews only and do not contain such other immigration records as ship manifests, passports and citizenship records.
The Library staff does provide copies of various library and oral history materials for research use and potential publication within the bounds of copyright restrictions. Most government publications and the oral history interviews are in the public domain and are not restricted by copyright. Duplication fees are charged for the copies, both print and digital format. Please contact the Library staff for duplication requests and information on service fees.
Did You Know?
Although most immigrants processed at Ellis Island stayed between three and five hours, about 20% stayed overnight in dormitory rooms until their cases could be cleared. Many immigrants found these accommodations a big improvement over the severe conditions of traveling to America in "steerage".