True Immigrant Tales: “It Was the Tombstone of Columbus”

[In 1913, Scottish travel writer Stephen Graham (1884-1975) left Liverpool, England, as a steerage passenger. This is an excerpt from his book, With Poor Immigrants to America (1914), in which he described events leading up to his inspection at Ellis Island.]                             … More True Immigrant Tales: “It Was the Tombstone of Columbus”

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: 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

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