Ellis Island Oral History Project
Since 1973, the Ellis Island Oral History project has been dedicated to preserving the first-hand recollections of immigrants who passed through the Ellis Island immigration station between 1892 and 1954 and the employees who worked there.
Over the years, the project has grown to include approximately 2000 interviews. The interviews include people from dozens of countries, former Immigration and Public Health Service employees, military personnel stationed at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty as well as people detained at Ellis Island during World War II until it closed in 1954.
Each person interviewed receives a tape of the interview which describes their daily life in the country of origin, family history, reasons for emigration, journey to New York arrival and processing at Ellis Island and the immigrants' adjustment to life in the United States.
For further information about the Ellis Island Oral History Program, please write to: Oral History Program, Ellis Island Immigration Museum, New York City, NY, 10004 or call (212) 363-3206, ext. 158 and E-mail: STLI_Oral History@nps.gov
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".