• Christmas on Ellis Island

    Christmas on Ellis Island

    The holidays were very important on Ellis Island, perhaps the most celebrated was Christmas. It was observed each year at Ellis Island through religious services, festivities, and gift giving. The Roman Catholic Church and the various Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Churches and denominations offered separate religious services in accordance with their respective traditions.

  • Thanksgiving


    Thanksgiving is a uniquely North American holiday (it has long been celebrated in Canada as well as the United States.) Historic newspaper accounts report of the efforts of individuals and organizations to bring Thanksgiving to those deemed less fortunate in the greater New York City metropolitan area. For homeless newsboys to inmates at Riker’s Island, there was turkey on Thanksgiving. According to a 1907 New York Times article, “If any one [sic] in New York missed turkey yesterday on account of hard times it was because he had hidden himself so well that a Sherlock Holmes could not have found him…”

  • In Loving Memory of Our Friend and Mentor, Judy McAlpin

    In Loving Memory of Our Friend and Mentor, Judy McAlpin

    Judith Rohrbacher McAlpin, 72, known to friends as Judy, of Charleston, South Carolina and Blooming Grove, Pennsylvania, wife of Malcolm McAlpin, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Saturday, January 23, 2021.

  • Author Virtual Event Series

    Author Virtual Event Series

    These past few months have been a challenging time for everyone. Like most other historic and cultural sites and institutions, our on-site programs have stopped and our buildings are empty. However, at Save Ellis Island we know that our story is more important now than ever. A groundbreaking hospital designed and built to keep infectious and contagious disease spreading to our country may have once seemed abstract, even to those who toured the halls of our Hospital Complex. Now everyone has a greater understanding and appreciation for the tremendous accomplishment that happened on this small island. No epidemic or pandemic has ever been traced back to Ellis Island.

  • Angel Island – Voices of Resilience

    Angel Island – Voices of Resilience

    Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, millions of people — in numbers which have not been seen since — came to America in pursuit of a better, freer life.

  • Ellis Island's role in the difficult battle it was for women to gain the right to vote

    Ellis Island's role in the difficult battle it was for women to gain the right to vote

    By the time Ellis Island opened its doors in 1892 welcoming young Annie Moore from Ireland as its first arrival, the fight for women’s suffrage – the right to vote – had been raging for 44 years. The movement began in 1848 when Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, among other brave women, held the first Women’s Rights Convention in July in the little town of Seneca Falls, New York (home to the Women’s Rights National Historical Park). In the early twentieth century the politics of suffrage reached Ellis Island as prominent suffragists from abroad were detained at Ellis Island due to their political activities. Since 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote, this month’s blog explores the role that Ellis Island played in that long struggle.