Ellis Island became a vital immigration station for entrance into the United States in the 1890s when the federal government began regulating immigration rather than allowing individual states this responsibility. Ellis Island was the most significant immigration station in the United States in the first half of the 20th century, with an estimated 12 million people processed at the station. It is believed that as many as 40% of the current population of the United States can trace at least one ancestor to Ellis Island.
Augustus Frederick Sherman was an amateur photographer and a senior staff member at Ellis Island from 1895 until 1925, reaching as far up the hierarchy as third in command. During his time working at Ellis Island, Sherman would photograph immigrants entering the United States that were detained for medical reasons or further interrogation.
Many of the subjects would wear traditional clothing from their native country at the request of Augustus F. Sherman, to highlight where each person is emigrating from. As a result, Sherman created a unique collection of photographs that highlight the diversity of cultures that were entering the United States in the early 1900s via Ellis Island.
The photos below are a small collection of portraits of people immigrating to the United States taken by Augustus F. Sherman between 1906 and 1914.
All photos courtesy of the New York Public Library and are in the Public Domain
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Enjoy looking at the pictures!!!