This Month in History- July


July 1-7

Day Year Event
1 1924

The Johnson-Reed Act goes into effect, requiring immigrants to be inspected at the US consulate in their home country before departing. As a result, Ellis Island's busiest days would end, since immigrants already approved by US officials did not need to be inspected again once they arrived. The law also set permanent quotas based on country of origin, and barred immigration from much of Asia.

4 1986 Comedian Yakov Smirnoff and hundreds of other immigrants became citizens in a naturalization ceremony presided over by Chief Justice Warren Burger on Ellis Island as part of Liberty Weekend, the four-day celebration of the restoration and centenary of the Statue of Liberty.
5 1879 Wanda Landowska born in Poland. Entered Ellis Island during WW I. She then moved to Germany, then France, and entered the US in 1941 as a refugee after the Germans invaded France. She later established a school in Connecticut and continued to perform.
6 1915 Fifteen year old Xavier Cugat arrives from Havana, Cuba. He would go on to become a successful musician and bandleader, and was known as the "King of the Rumba."

July 8-14

Day Year Event
11 1794 Samuel Ellis dies. His heirs would sell the island to the local government shortly thereafter, but the island retains the name of its last private owner.
1890 William O'Dwyer born in Ireland. Entered Ellis Island in 1910. He worked as a police officer and then as a lawyer. He became New York City Mayor in 1946. He handled aiding the city in recovering from WWII and settling labor disputes. His second term was shortened after he was linked to a police corruption scandal in Brooklyn. President Truman then appointed him Ambassador to Mexico.
1917 Banker Rudolph Kecht, who floated German loans in the US, is detained and sent to Ellis Island. Those loans helped fund Germany's sabotage efforts against the US, including the Black Tom's Wharf explosion, which greatly damaged Ellis Island.
12 1630 The Governor of New Amsterdam, Michael Pauw, purchases the island known as Kioshk, or Gull Island from American Indians. Eventually the island would be known as Ellis Island from its last private owner, Samuel Ellis.
1886 Jean Hersholt born in Denmark and entered Ellis Island in 1913. He appeared in many films including The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse and The Country Doctor. Hersholt is best known for the award created to honor him by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1956 called the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
13 1886 Edward Flanagan born in Ireland. He entered Ellis Island in 1904. He became an ordained priest in Omaha, Nebraska in 1912. He is known for creating Boys Town, originally a 120 acre farm where orphan boys could receive an education and learn a trade.
1909 The Department of Commerce and Labor announces that 139 out of 472 employees at the Ellis Island Immigration Station have been found to be below the standard of efficient. As a result, some would be dismissed, some reduced, and others reprimanded and warned.


July 15-21

Day Year Event
17 1916 Representative William S. Bennet attacks Ellis Island Commissioner Frederic Howe in a speech in the House of Representatives for alleged immoral conditions. Bennet called Howe a "half-baked radical, with free love ideas"' and claimed he did not do enough to segregate male and female immigrants.
19 1901 Juano Hernández born in Puerto Rico. He entered Ellis Island in 1915. He is known for Intruder in the Dust and The Pawnbroker. He would lead the way for other Black actors to be considered for serious roles.


July 22-28

Day Year Event
22 1908 The Department of Commerce and Labor rejects all bids to supply food service at Ellis Island. The contract was seen as a lucrative prize by many New York companies.
27 1882 Donald Crisp born George William Crisp in Scotland. He entered through Ellis Island in 1906. He is an Academy Award winner who starred in over 50 films and directed almost 70 films.
28 1920 Archibald Alec Leach passes inspection at Ellis Island. He traveled with the Bob Pender Stage Troupe as a stilt walker on the RMS Olympic for a two-year tour. When the troupe returned to England, he decided to stay in the US and continue his stage career. He would later change his name to Cary Grant, and become of Hollywood's leading actors.


July 29-31

Day Year Event
30 1916 A massive explosion destroys Black Tom's Wharf, a shipping depot at Jersey City, New Jersey's waterfront. The main building on Ellis Island suffers damage costing nearly $400,000 to repair. Five hundred people are evacuated from the island without serious injury.


Last updated: July 15, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Ellis Island Receiving Center
Statue of Liberty National Monument

Jersey City, NJ 07305


(212) 363-3200

Contact Us