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kottke.org posts about Augustus Sherman

Portraits of Ellis Island Immigrants

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 17, 2019

Ellis Island Portraits

Ellis Island Portraits

Augustus Sherman worked as a registry clerk for the immigration station on Ellis Island from 1892 to 1925. Sherman was also an amateur photographer and while he worked, he took portraits of some of the immigrants that passed through Ellis Island, many dressed in traditional garb.

These images of people wearing their folk costumes were taken by amateur photographer Augustus Sherman who worked as the Chief Registry Clerk on Ellis Island from 1892 until 1925. The people in the photographs were most likely detainees who were waiting for money, travel tickets or someone to come and collect them from the island. In 1907, the photographs were published in National Geographic, and they were also hung on the walls of the lower Manhattan headquarters of the federal Immigration Service.

A selection of the photographs are housed by the NYPL (also on Flickr).