Immigration to Ellis Island

The following photos document immigration to Ellis Island. All photos are courtesy of the Library of Congress. Read our overview in the themes section on immigration.

Immigration Context

During the years between 1815 and 1921, more than 30 million people left their homelands to settle in the U.S., leaving behind religious persecution, famine, pogroms, and autocratic regimes. Primarily from northern and western Europe, emigrants travelled in noisy, crowded, often unventilated bunks below deck. By 1870, more than 90 percent of immigrants arriving to America came on steamships.

To learn more about immigration to Providence, check out our post on the Fabre Line.

Click here for more about immigration and disease.


Immigration to Ellis Island

Part of 1,000 Marriageable Girls on board the Baltic.



Immigration to Ellis Island.

A photo of some of the women coming to the United States in search of husbands in 1907.

Check out this article on the 1,000 Marriageable Girls arriving to the United States.

Immigration to Ellis Island

Russian family on board the Orbita.

Immigration to Ellis Island

Immigrants waiting for inspection on Ellis Island.

Immigration to Ellis Island

Two young children arrive in America.

Immigration to Ellis Island

Immigrants waiting to be examined at Ellis Island

Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Questions for Further Thought

  1. What were some of the leading factors for immigration to the United States?
  2. What can these images tell us about the people that came here?