Castle Garden and Ellis Island

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Castle Garden, N.Y, Stereograph (1850-1930)

Digital Public Library of America

This stereograph of Castle Garden by John F. Jarvis and R. Y. Young was taken sometime between 1850 and 1930. The stereograph was clearly taken as a way to inform the country on the first immigration station. Jarvis and Young went to to Castle Garden, also known as Castle Clinton, during its prime and documented the building. The building is fairly small, with a tall stone wall surrounding the perimeter. This was documented after the California Gold Rush sparked a major growth in immigration to America. The increase of immigration led to an increase in new diseases, leading to the creation of Castle Garden as the first immigration station and checkpoint.

Ellis Island, Photograph (1903)


This photograph was taken in 1903 of Ellis Island, about ten years into its reign as the largest immigration station in America. The photo was taken by George P. Hall and housed in the George P. Hall & Son Collection and it was used to inform people about the new immigration station that had replaced Castle Garden after it proved to be unable to process immigrants successfully. Ellis Island was clearly much larger than Castle Garden with an abundance of resources available to make the process as successful as possible. The photo shows Ellis Island’s massive size with multiple stories and separate buildings for processing and medical facilities.

Ellis Island Passenger List (1892)

National Archives

This list of immigrants being processed through Ellis Island was the first group to come in through the station after it was established in 1892. This list contains the name of 13-year-old Annie Moore who is well known for being the first person processed through Ellis Island. The list shows that Ellis Island recorded the age, gender, amount of bags, desired city, and “calling” of the immigrants. This is significant because it shows that people had to have a useful skill to be allowed into the country. The Federal Government set these policies as they worked to exploit immigrants for their skills with little pay.

Gertrude Remembers Changing Her Name (1992)

National Park Service

┬áIn 1992, Gertrude Hildebrandt Muller was interviewed about her experiences in Ellis Island and after assimilating into American society when she immigrated from Germany at age nine in 1929. Muller was processed at Ellis Island almost forty years after it was established and the American Industrial Revolution was thriving off of the cheap employment of immigrants. The interview was conducted by the Ellis Island Oral History Collection and published by the National Park Service. Muller recounts the actions taken at Ellis Island and how she was forced to become more ‘American’. This is significant to note because it showed how immigrants were viewed as people who had to take after the American way in order to be accepted into society.