National Archives at New York City

The Immigrant Experience in the World's Port

The World's Port, through documents of the National Archives

Immigrant Experience

The Immigrant Experience demonstrates the role played by the Port of New York as the gateway to America for the millions of immigrants is highlighted. The Port of New York is the World's Port because people from every spot on the globe entered and began their American experience through its golden door.

Refer to CaptionImmigrants at Ellis Island, early 20th century Records of the Public Health Service

The Journey

The story of The Journey is told through passenger arrival manifests, tickets, handbills and photographs highlighting different parts of the immigrant's voyage from their homeland to their new home.

Refer to Caption Passenger List of the SS Nevada, January 2, 1892 Records of the United States Customs Service The passenger manifest for the Nevada documents the arrival of the 13-year-old Annie Moore, the first immigrant to be processed through Ellis Island.

The Arrival

In The Arrival, photographs, reports, and letters illustrate the immediate experience of new Americans as they endured inspections and examinations at places like Ellis Island.

Refer to Caption Floor Plan for Quarantine Station at Hoffman Island, 1922 Records of the Public Health Service Hoffman Island, a man-made island off the coast of Staten Island, was used as a quarantine station for immigrants exposed to infectious diseases onboard arriving ships. This floor plan illustrates the process for handling and sanitizing immigrants and their baggage, which included undressing, bathing, and examination.

The World's Port exhibit reflects primary source documents can tell important stories of our past, that the National Archives has these documents, and that they are available for everyone to learn from and discover.

The World's Port exhibit ran from September 21, 2012 through November 25, 2012 at the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House at One Bowling Green, New York, NY.