Amazing Portrait Photos of Ellis Island Immigrants Taken by Augustus F. Sherman Around 1900s

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Ellis Island is an island in the bay of New York that served as an entry point for immigrants to the US 1892–1943 and as a detention center for people awaiting deportation until 1954. It is now part of a national monument and houses an immigration museum.

Ellis Island immigrants taken by Augustus F. Sherman, circa 1900s

Many photographers were drawn to Ellis Island by the general human interest and newsworthiness of the scene in this period. And Augustus Sherman, an amateur photographer, the Ellis Island Chief Registry Clerk who had special access to potential subjects for his camera is one of them.

It is likely that Sherman’s elaborately costumed subjects were detainees, new immigrants held at Ellis Island for one reason or another. While waiting for what they needed to leave the island (an escort, or money, or travel tickets), some of these immigrants may have been persuaded to pose for Sherman’s camera, donning their best holiday finery or national dress, which they had brought with them from home.

These amazing photos from New York Public Library were taken by Augustus Sherman that show portraits of Ellis Island immigrants from 1906 to 1912.

Albanian soldier, 1906-1914. (Photo by Augustus F. Sherman)

Algerian man, 1906-1914. (Photo by Augustus F. Sherman)

Algerian man, 1906-1914. (Photo by Augustus F. Sherman)

Alsace-Lorraine girl, circa 1906. (Photo by Augustus F. Sherman)

Bavarian man, 1906-1914. (Photo by Augustus F. Sherman)

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