This Month in History- December


December 1-7


December 8-15

Day Year Event
8 1919 Anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman are allowed out of detention at Ellis Island to appear in federal court. Judge Julius M. Mayer declared that as aliens, they have no constitutional rights, and they should be deported.
11 1882 Fiorello LaGuardia born in New York City. He made an impact on many immigrants processed at Ellis Island as an interpreter while earning a law degree. Some of the languages that he spoke included German, Yiddish, Italian, and Serbo-Croatian. After working at Ellis Island, LaGuardia held many elected government positions including the 99th Mayor of New York City. LaGuardia Airport in Queens, NY is named for this popular politician
1893 The US government sells the rights to operate the currency exchange services at Ellis Island to a private contractor. In the years to come, many immigrants would be defrauded by unscrupulous workers giving them incorrect exchange rates. An investigation and firing of dishonest employees helped end this practice.
12 1893 Edward G. Robinson born Emanuel Goldenberg in Romania. He entered the US through Ellis Island in 1903. He is known for acting on Broadway, in films, and on TV including The Ten Commandments and The Lucille Ball Show. He was awarded a "Lifetime Achievement Oscar" posthumously.


December 15-21

Day Year Event
17 1900 The Main Building opened, built in the French Renaissance style, with red brick and limestone trim. It cost approximately 1.5 million dollars and designed so 5,000 immigrants could be processed daily.
18 1916 Douglas Fraser born in Scotland. He entered the US through Ellis Island in 1922. He would later become the president of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union.
21 1919 After more than two weeks of detention at Ellis Island, anarchist Emma Goldman is deported along with 248 other "radical aliens" who are placed on a ship bound for Russia.


December 22-28

Day Year Event
25 1909 Mike Mazurki was born Mikhail Mazurkiewicz in present day Ukraine. He entered the US through Ellis Island in 1915. He is known for his Hollywood roles in films such as Dick Tracy and Behind the Rising Sun as well as TV shows such as Batman, Gunsmoke, and Charlie's Angels.


December 29-31

Day Year Event
31 1899 Pola Negri born Apolonia Chalupec in what is now Poland. She entered the US through Ellis Island in 1941. She was temporarily detained on Ellis Island, then proceeded to go to Hollywood where she appeared in Hi Diddle Diddle.


Last updated: December 13, 2018

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Statue of Liberty National Monument

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