24 Remarkable Photos of Immigrants from Around 1900 Show a Time Like No Other

This unique time in our nation’s history was unlike any other.

More than a century ago, Ellis Island in the east and Angel Island in the west have processed millions of immigrants, all of whom came to the U.S. looking for a better life, or at least a new start. The photographs taken during this time tell of the Old World, as people disembarked from their steamer ships wearing the traditional dress of their countries, belongings in fabric bundles, sometimes with a smile for the camera and sometimes not. Here are 24 stunning photos of immigration at the turn of the century that give us a glimpse of what these immigrants were experiencing upon their arrival to America.

Via/ Library of Congress
Romani family photographed at Ellis Island around 1905. Via/ NYPL
U.S. inspectors examining eyes of immigrants, Ellis Island,1913. Via/ Library of Congress
Examining passengers aboard ships, vessel is the Shimyo Maru, Angel Island, California, 1931. Via/ Flickr
Two children on Ellis Island. The numbers attached to their clothing probably relate to the their passenger listings. Via/ Library of Congress
Slovakian woman photographed on Ellis Island in 1905. Via/ NYPL
Dining hall at Ellis Island, early 1900s.


Algerian man at Ellis Island, early 1900s. Via/ NYPL
Laplander children from Sweden on Ellis Island, early 1900s.


Immigrants at Ellis Island, 1917. Via/ Library of Congress
Immigrants on Ellis Island, 1900. Via/ Flickr