• 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 is open on a limited basis while repairs continue.

    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 remain closed at this time. The museum's artifacts remain in off-site storage. More »

Jue Family

During the 1880s, stories about golden California persuaded Tong Ly Jue to leave Canton, China and journey to the United States. A trained herbalist, Jue brought a variety of medicines as well as an abacus and herbalist's scale to America. After establishing an herb business in San Francisco's Chinatown, Jue went back to Canton to marry Jeang Quai Sen - the couple returned to California soon after.

The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, as well as subsequent congressional acts, suspended immigration of Chinese laborers to the United States well into the 20th century. Officials, merchants, teachers, and students (who comprised a small percentage of the Chinese workforce), however, could still enter the country. Immigration officials grouped Chinese herbalists-medical practitioners who use different mixtures of herbs to prevent and treat various ailments-with merchants, and thus they were allowed entry. Family members believe that Tong Ly Jue was among the first herbalists in the United States.

Did You Know?

Angel Island aerial cropped2

From 1910 to 1940, the Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco Bay processed approximately 1 million Asian immigrants entering into the US, leading to it sometimes being referred to as "The Ellis Island of the West". Due to the restrictions of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, many immigrants spent years on the island, waiting for entry. Access to the island is by private boat or public ferry from San Francisco, Tiburon or Vallejo. Ferry services are reduced during the winter. More...