This Month in History- March


March 1-7

Day Year Event
1 1902 Ellis Island's hospital opens for the reception of patients. It would treat patients from all over the world, with a variety of diseases and ailments. From 1900 to 1954, over 3,500 people died on Ellis Island. However, there were also over 350 babies born.
2 1907

Congress passes an act including the provision that all women acquire their husband's nationality upon marriage. One result is that US-born citizen women could lose their citizenship by any marriage to any alien, and be deported through Ellis Island.

3 1888 Onorio Ruotolo, born in Italy, entered Ellis Island in 1908. He is well known for his busts of people including Thomas Edison and Helen Keller.
1891 Congress passes an Immigration Act which excludes all idiots, insane persons likely to become a public charge, persons suffering from a loathsome or contagious disease, those convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude, and polygamists.
1903 Anarchists are added to the existing immigration exclusions in the aftermath of the assassination of President William McKinley. Also added to the excluded list are persons who believe in or advocate the overthrow of the US government by force or violence, and prostitutes.
4 1888 Knute Rockne born in Norway entered Ellis Island in 1893. He is well known for his 12 season as University of Notre Dame Head Football coach. He led the team to 105 victories.
1913 President Taft signs an act establishing the Department of Labor, just hours before Woodrow Wilson took office. All business of immigration and naturalization, including the Ellis Island processing station, is transferred to the Department of Labor.
1955 US government declares Ellis Island surplus property and puts it on sale. No bids were accepted and eventually it would be put under the protection of the National Park Service and restored as a museum.
7 1898 Secretary of the Treasury Lyman J. Gage recommends to the Senate that $1 million be allocated for the construction of the new Ellis Island immigration station. the original 1892 station nad been destroyed in a fire in 1897.


March 8-14

Day Year Event
9 1892 Frank Puglia born in Italy. Entered through Ellis Island in 1908. He is well known for acting in such films as Captain Hook, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and The Road to Rio.
11 1919 Mollie Steimer, free on appeal of her 15 year sentence for handing out leaflets that criticized the federal government, is arrested at the Russian People's House during a raid which netted 164 radicals. Charged with inciting to riot, Steimer was taken to Ellis Island for deportation. She was eventually deported to Russia on November 1, 1922.


March 15-21

Day Year Event
15 1899 George Brent born George Brendan Nolan in Ireland. Entered through Ellis Island in 1922. His acting career started in Dublin's Abby Theater and continued onto Broadway when in the US. As sound was added to films he would star in films including 42nd Street, Death of a Scoundrel, and his last film Born Again.
16 1953 US Supreme Court rules in the case of Shaughnessy v. Mezei. Ignatz Mezei, an alien resident of the US traveled abroad and remained in Hungary for 19 months. On his return to this country, the Attorney General ordered him permanently excluded without a hearing. Since other nations refused to accept him, his exclusion at Ellis Island was continued for 21 months. The Supreme Court ruled that the Attorney General's continued exclusion of the alien without a hearing does not amount to an unlawful detention.
18 1904 The newly completed ferry Ellis Island launches from Wilmington, Delaware en route to New York. The 160 foot boat would carry over 2 million passengers on her numerous trips from Ellis Island to lower Manhattan, including many immigrants just approved to enter the US.
20 1906 Abraham Beame born in England. Entered Ellis Island in 1906. After high school he opened an accounting firm which later led to a career in New York City government. Eventually he would make his way to become the 104th Mayor of New York City.


March 22-28

Day Year Event
23 1887 Sidney Hillman was born in Russia, entered Ellis Island in 1907. He was impressed by the policies of the New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. When Roosevelt later became President he was appointed a member of the Labor Advisory Board and associate director of the Office of Production Management.
1888 Louis Adamic was born in Slovenia, entered Ellis Island in 1913. Many of his writings included works about immigrant experience such as Grandsons, My America, and My Native Land.
1916 Marcus Garvey arrives in the US for a lecture tour and to raise funds for establishment of a school in Jamaica. After processing at Ellis Island, Garvey would work as the Universal Negro Improvement Association's President-General. Garvey would remain in the US until his 1927 release from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, where he had been serving time for mail fraud. He would be taken to New Orleans for deportation, never to return to the US.
1921 Bela Lugosi passes inspection at Ellis Island. He had illegally entered the country in New Orleans in December 1920, failing to return to the merchant ship upon which he served as a crew member. Lugosi later surrendered to Immigration Service officials in NY and was brought to Ellis Island. Lugosi would go on to achieve great success as an actor, and is best known for his role playing Count Dracula.


March 29-31

Day Year Event
30 1908 Four year old English immigrant Leslie Townes Hope is inspected at Ellis Island. He would later change his name to Bob Hope and go on to become a world famous entertainer who appeared on Broadway, in radio, television, movies and on numerous U.S.O. tours for US military personnel.


Last updated: December 13, 2018

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