This Month in History- June


June 1-7

Day Year Event
1 1920 Frederick Wallis, former New York City Deputy Police Commissioner, commences his appointment as Commissioner of Immigration at Ellis Island. Wallis' effort to humanize Ellis Island would prove difficult to carry out due to inadequate staffing levels, a post-World War I surge in immigrants, and lack of funding to renovate the facility.
2 1904 Johnny Weissmuller born in Romania, entered Ellis Island in 1907. He is known for his accomplishments as a swimmer. He won 5 Olympic gold medals, 67 world titles and 52 national titles. As an actor he is best known for playing Tarzan in the films of 1930s and 1940s.
3 1921 The Quota Act, limiting the amount of immigrants entering monthly, goes into effect. Within a week, the new law causes chaotic situations at the Ellis Island Immigration Station and in the harbor. The law did not account for immigrant passengers already en route to America. The quota of immigrants per nation for June would be reached in days.


June 8-14

Day Year Event
8 1808 New York State bought Ellis Island from the Ellis family for "no less than $10,000". The federal government immediately reimbursed New York and took possession of the island on the same day. The island would be fortified and used to protect New York Harbor.
10 1891 Al Dubin born in Switzerland. He became a famous lyricist for Broadway shows and movies including "Footlight Parade" and "Roman Scandals."
12 1899 The photographer known as Weegee was born Ascher (Usher) Fellig in what is now Ukraine. He entered Ellis Island in 1910. He is known for his photojournalist contributions to the Herald Tribune, the New York Post, The Sun, and many other papers.
1940 President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the Immigration and Naturalization Service from the Department of Labor to the Department of Justice. Ellis Island would be used as a detention center for suspected enemy aliens and their families during WWII.


June 15-21

Day Year Event
15 1897 A fire destroyed the wooden Immigration Processing Center on Ellis Island. Unfortunately most records dating back to 1855 were destroyed. Luckily no one dies in the fire.
20 1911 The contagious disease hospital at Ellis Island opens. Immigrants with infectious illnesses could be further isolated from healthy immigrants, as well as patients with non-contagious ailments.


June 22-28

Day Year Event
25 1899 Arthur Tracy born Abba Avrom Tracovutsky in Moldavia (in what is now Ukraine), entered Ellis Island in 1906. He was a vocalist who also starred in films such as "Crossing Delancy" and "The Street Singer." An accomplished singer, hits included "Red Sails in the Sunset" and "September in the Rain."
1964 An Ellis Island study team sent a report to the Senate subcommittee proclaiming that "Ellis Island had been as important in fact as Plymouth Rock has become in fancy for the descendants of those who came in the first colonization wave." The team, therefore, recommended "permanent recognition" of the island's historic importance by designating Ellis Island as a national monument within the National Park system. That recommendation would be realized the following year.
27 1869 Emma Goldman (anarchist, feminist, and labor leader) is born in Kovno, in Russia-controlled Lithuania. She immigrated to the US in 1885 and was deported through Ellis Island in 1919.
1952 Congress overrode President Truman's veto and passed the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952. It called for a liberalized detention policy for immigrants, and as a result the number of detainees on Ellis Island dropped to less than 30. Ellis Island would close in 1954 as a result of its diminished use.


June 29-30


Last updated: December 13, 2018

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Statue of Liberty National Monument

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