True Immigrant Stories_5: Her Father and His “Palace”

[This is another true story from my oral histories collection of immigrants who came through Ellis Island drawn from of my research for my historical novel, Guardians of the Gate and its sequel, Defenders of Freedom. Elzbieta came from Russia in 1923 at age 15.] The closer we came to the United States, the better we … More True Immigrant Stories_5: Her Father and His “Palace”

True Immigrant Stories_6: 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), and its sequel,  Defenders of Freedom. Because of the emotional level in his narration—even when he retold his story 65 years later—I’ll let Wilhelm tell the story … More True Immigrant Stories_6: A Teenager at Ellis Island

True Immigrant Stories_3: 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, and its sequel, Defenders of Freedom  .] Ida Napolitano was just three years old when her father emigrated from Italy into the United States, with the … More True Immigrant Stories_3: Ida and Thomas Jefferson

Immigrant Oral Histories_1: 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, and its sequel, Defenders of Freedom. This is the first of about two dozen … More Immigrant Oral Histories_1: The Statue of Liberty

Immigration Then and Now

Last week’s blog—about the 1890s immigration setting of Guardians of the Gate compared to today—promised next time to give some surprising facts about the impact of immigrants on American society, both past and present.  Here goes. Demographers measure the immigration impact in different eras by using an immigration rate.  Similar to other rates—the crime rate, … More Immigration Then and Now

Personifying the American Dream and the American Spirit

I was asked an interesting question about how the characters in Guardians of the Gate convey the message of the American Dream and the strength of the human spirit. The easy answer lies in the immigrants going through Ellis Island, leaving behind poverty, repression, and limited life choices to pursue freedom and a better life … More Personifying the American Dream and the American Spirit

Ellis Island Employees Instead of Immigrants

As its title implies, Guardians of the Gate is primarily about the people who worked at Ellis Island and the numerous situations they faced while working on the island.  I’ve been asked, though, why I didn’t write this historical novel from the perspective of the immigrants instead. Certainly, the millions of immigrants who came through … More Ellis Island Employees Instead of Immigrants