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

    Ellis Island

    Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument NJ,NY

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    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 and both elevators, remain closed at this time. More »

People

The Workers of Ellis Island

An Ellis Island working conducting a trachoma exam.

An Ellis Island worker conducting a trachoma exam.

Library of Congress

Ellis Island nurse Lillian Wheeler giving a child a bath.

Ellis Island nurse Lillian Wheeler giving a child a bath.

National Park Service, Statue of Liberty NM

 
On a typical day at the Ellis Island Immigration Station, immigrants came face to face with inspectors, interpreters, nurses, doctors, social workers, and many others. As a large federal facility employing approximately five hundred employees at a time, Ellis Island was a well-organized workforce.

The complex work of processing thousands of immigrants a year required a full complement of staff. Some names are known; others remain anonymous, but all of them contributed to the primary function of the Immigration Station on Ellis Island -- to make sure that newcomers to the United States were legally and medically fit to enter the country.

Learn about the types of work performed on Ellis Island and some of the individual employees who worked in these jobs.

Inspector Clerk Interpreter
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Aid Worker Nurse
Doctor
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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).