Scottish Teen Tells of Her 1921 Journey in Steerage

[From my immigrant oral histories collection: This is the story of Helen, who sailed from Glascow, Scotland, in 1921.  She was 14 and traveled with her mother and three brothers to rejoin her father who had left for America a year earlier.]  “It may sound terrible, but I have no love, no feelings at all … More Scottish Teen Tells of Her 1921 Journey in Steerage

True Immigrant Stories: Young Teenager at Ellis Island

[This is another true immigrant story from my oral history collection, gathered as part of my research for the historical novel, Guardians of the Gate.  In 1925 at age 13, Heinz sailed alone from Bremen to live with his aunt and uncle in the United States. “We arrived on Election Day and our ship was … More True Immigrant Stories: Young Teenager at Ellis Island

True Immigrant Stories: Her Father and his “Palace”

[This is another true story from my oral histories collection of immigrants who came through Ellis Island as part of my research for my historical novel,Guardians of the Gate. Elzbieta came from Russia in 1923 at age 15.] The closer we came to the United States, the better we felt after being so dizzy and … More True Immigrant Stories: Her Father and his “Palace”

True Immigrant Stories; A Teenager at Ellis Island

This true story is from my immigrant oral histories collection when I was researching for my historical novel, Guardians of the Gate, about Ellis Island in the 1890s. Because of the emotional level in his narration—even when he retold his story 65 years later—I’ll let Wilhelm tell the story in his own words.] “I came … More True Immigrant Stories; A Teenager at Ellis Island

True Immigrant Stories: Ida and Thomas Jefferson

[This is another true story from my oral histories collection of immigrants who came through Ellis Island as part of my research for my historical novel, Guardians of the Gate.] Ida Napolitano was just three years old when her father emigrated from Italy into the United States, with the plan to earn enough money for … More True Immigrant Stories: Ida and Thomas Jefferson

Immigrant Oral Histories: The Statue of Liberty

Throughout my career as a college professor, I have collected numerous firsthand accounts from immigrants about their journeys and first impressions and/or experiences in America.  Some of these I incorporated into Guardians of the Gate, my historical novel about Ellis Island. I’m also including a few others in the sequel I am now writing. I’d … More Immigrant Oral Histories: The Statue of Liberty