"Since 1973, the Ellis Island Oral History project has been dedicated to preserving the first-hand recollections of immigrants who passed through the Ellis Island immigration station between 1892 and 1954 and the employees who worked there.
Over the years, the project has grown to include approximately 1900 interviews. The interviews include people from dozens of countries, former Immigration and Public Health Service employees, military personnel stationed at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty as well as people detained at Ellis Island during World War II until it closed in 1954."
"Many immigrants to the United States wrote letters back home. At the time they were written, the missives shaped the expectations of those who would soon make the same journey; today, they gave historians invaluable first-hand testimony of the immigrants’ own experiences. These seventeen letters involved the children of a retired Polish farmer named Raczkowski. Adam Raczkowski went to the United States in 1904 with the financial assistance of his sister Helena Brylska [later Dabrowskis] and his brother Franciszek, who had both previously immigrated. He settled with his brother in Wilmington, Delaware, and obtained factory work. The letters included here cover the years 1904 to 1912 and were written between both Adam and Helena and their sister Teofila, who remained in Poland."
"This project documents the lives of immigrant coal miners in eastern Kentucky. In the early twentieth century, people from Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Scotland, Russia, and Yugoslavia settled in Hazard, Himlerville (now Beauty), Jackson, Lynch, and other eastern Kentucky towns. Immigrants and their descendants discuss schools, prejudice and other problems they have experienced, the roles of women in mining camps, social activities, ethnic clubs, moonshine, World War II, housing, coal mining, mechanization, union activities, the United Mine Workers of America, Miners for Democracy, United States Steel, wages, mine safety, company stores, scrip, and mine bosses."
"Between 1880 and 1930, approximately 28 million immigrants entered the United States. In contrast to earlier waves of immigrants, most of whom had originated in western and northern Europe, this group arrived from eastern and southern Europe. As they entered through Ellis Island in New York Harbor and made their way into various new lives—in cities and rural areas coast to coast, from urban tenements to Midwestern farms to seaside towns— they encountered mixed reactions from existing Americans. They also entered into a political climate that was charged by the sweeping immigration restrictions placed on the Chinese in 1882 through the Chinese Exclusion Act. While some Americans favored immigration, many opposed it, and responded during the 1920s by pressing for a tightening of the nation’s borders. This set of photographs, plays, and primary sources allows users to immerse themselves in the debates that surrounded turn-of-the-century immigration and to consider the nature of Americanization."
"This digital collection of historical materials from Harvard's libraries, archives, and museums documents voluntary immigration to the United States from the signing of the Constitution to the start of the Great Depression." Most materials cover the 19th century.
Book Sources: Topic Area
A selection of books/e-books available in Trible Library.
Click the title for location and availability information.
Each of the eight chronological chapters contains a survey essay, an annotated bibliography, and 20 to 30 related public and private primary source documents, including manifestos, speeches, court cases, letters, memoirs, and much more.
“... draws together significant U.S. and international primary source documents—including excerpts from newspaper articles, speeches, relevant treaties and other legal documents, and scientific reports.”
House of Representatives, Sixty-fourth Congress, first session, on H.R. 558, Friday, January 21, 1916 : statement of Mr. J. H. Kimble, national legislative agent of the Farmers' National Congress, and two briefs of the Immigration Restriction League.