This Month in History- February

1-7 | 8-14 | 15-21 | 22-28(29)


February 1-7

Day Year Event
1 2001 Save Ellis Island's agreement with the National Park Service was finalized "for the purpose of coordinating fundraising activities intended to benefit the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, a unit of the National Park System."
2 1901 Jascha Heifetz born in Lithuania. He is considered one of the greatest violinists of his time. Entered through Ellis Island in 1924, he became a citizen in 1925.
4 1895 Nigel Bruce born in Ensenada, Mexico while his British parents were there on vacation. Entered through Ellis Island in 1932, the actor is best known as Dr. Watson to Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes.
1900 Mayor Vincent R. Impellitteri born in Italy. Entered through Ellis Island in 1901, he became New York City's 101st Mayor.
1917 Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917 overriding President Woodrow Wilson's veto. The most controversial part of the law was the section that designated an "Asiatic Barred Zone," a region that included much of eastern Asia and the Pacific Islands from which people could not immigrate.
5 1884 Alfred Piccaver born in England. Entered through Ellis Island in 1894, he became an operatic tenor noted for his performances as Rodolfo in Giacomo Puccini's "La bohe`me."
6 1902 Louis Nizer born in England. A noted lawyer and author, he entered through Ellis Island in 1905. Expert in contract, copyright, anti-trust and divorce law, some of his more famous clients were Charlie Chaplin and Mae West.
7 1913 Cipriano Castro, former President of Venezuela, was released from Ellis Island after weeks held in detention. Castro was held for refusing to answer questions regarding his alleged role in the murder of a political rival. Once he denied guilt, Castro was released.


February 8-14

Day Year Event
12 1892 A typhus fever outbreak grows in New York. Fifty-seven cases are found, including six suspected cases from the Ellis Island immigrant hospital that are then sent to the North Brother Island quarantine station. This would lead to the construction of isolated contagious disease wards on Ellis Island.
1898 Sidor Belarsky, born Isador Livshitz in Ukraine, entered Ellis Island in 1930. The opera singer performed with Chicago Civic Opera, the San Francisco Opera, the Los Angeles Opera, and the New York City Center Company.


February 15-21

Day Year Event
18 1947 Congressman Richard Nixon delivers his first speech to the House of Representatives, demanding that Gerhart Eisler, an Ellis Island immigrant, be deported for working with the Communist party.
19 1904 Eleven year old boy Angelo Siciliano (born in Italy) passes inspection at Ellis Island. He changed his name to Charles Atlas and would go on to become a successful bodybuilder and businessman.
1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9066, authorizing relocation of people with "foreign enemy ancestry" living in the United States. Ellis Island served as an internment camp throughout World War II, detaining thousands, mostly Germans along with some Italians and Japanese.
20 1907 Categories for exclusion and deportation of immigrants are expanded to include imbeciles, feeble-minded persons, those with physical and mental defects which might affect their ability to earn a living, people with tuberculosis and children unaccompanied by a parent.


February 22-28(29)

Day Year Event
26 1907 Changes in regulations governing the admission of Chinese immigrants were approved. These regulations guaranteed their right to present witnesses and allowed counsel to make copies of the testimony to prepare for an appeal.


Last updated: December 13, 2018

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Statue of Liberty National Monument

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