True Immigrant Tales: After Ellis Island

The travail for immigrants wasn’t limited to the journey and Ellis Island processing. They could still be exploited and/or treated harshly before reaching their final destination as this 1910 report to the Presidential Commission on Immigration reveals. “At Ellis Island, the inspection by the doctors and the officers of the Immigration Service was quickly completed.  … More True Immigrant Tales: After Ellis Island

True Immigrant Tales: Waiting Without Food and Water

[This is Part 2 of American journal Broughton Brandenburg’s account of a 1903 steamship voyage with immigrants in steerage, taken from his book, Imported Americans.] “. . . In mid-afternoon. . . when we reached the slip at Ellis Island we merely tied up, for there were many barge-loads ahead of us, and we waited our … More True Immigrant Tales: Waiting Without Food and Water

True Immigrant Tales: “I Was Weak in the Knees”

      [Louis Adamic was a prominent Slovene-American writer who migrated to America in December 1913 at age 15.] “Now and then I glanced at the noisy, picturesque, garlicky crowd on the steerage deck; people of perhaps a dozen nationalities milling around the capstans and steam-hissing winches, pushing toward the rails straining and stretching, … More True Immigrant Tales: “I Was Weak in the Knees”

True Immigrant Tales: “We All Stood There Naked”

[A Czech immigrant woman tells of her journey from Prague to Rotterdam and then in steerage to America in 1920.] “Three days and three nights were spent riding in local trains from Prague to Rotterdam. At Oldenzaal, four stations distant from Rotterdam, all our baggage was taken from without an explanation why this was done. … More True Immigrant Tales: “We All Stood There Naked”

True Immigrant Tales: Trip from Tipperary in 1920

[This is another in a series of firsthand accounts from my immigrant oral histories collection] “Like many more immigrants like myself, I came to this country to seek a living, because living over there [in Tipperary, Ireland] was very, very poor.  Work was scarce and hard.  I worked on a farm.  I would get up … More True Immigrant Tales: Trip from Tipperary in 1920

True Immigrant Tales: Jordan’s Adventures Continue

[This is a continuation of last week’s blog, which you may want to read first.  Jordan’s story comes from my oral history collection.] “When we were taken to Ellis Island, naturally, there were hundreds of us and we were led, almost like sheep, here and there, and we didn’t know where we were going.  Each … More True Immigrant Tales: Jordan’s Adventures Continue