Ellis Island: Gateway to the American Dream

Front Cover, Ellis Island: Gateway to the American Dream by Pamela Reeves, © 2002.

Front Cover, Ellis Island: Gateway to the American Dream by Pamela Reeves, © 2002. GGA Image ID # 19f9c80bcd

Front and Back Cover Photography: Brown Brothers Jacket Design: Liz Travato

From the Publisher

Celebrates the grand reopening of one of America's greatest historical monuments by exploring the history of Ellis Island, from the days of its earliest immigrants to its recent restoration.

From the Back Cover

Ellis Island -- the gateway to America -- was the place where millions of newcomers to the United States began their new lives. It was a place of joy, hope, and sometimes sadness.

Along with the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island remains an inspiring symbol of freedom and opportunity for generations of Americans. This fascinating history, complete with beautiful and poignant photographs and personal reminiscences, brings Ellis Island to life.

Special sections on the architectural restoration of Ellis Island and on how to trace your family history through the island make this book to be enjoyed time and again.

From the Inside Flaps

Back Cover, Ellis Island: Gateway to the American Dream by Pamela Reeves, © 2002.

Back Cover, Ellis Island: Gateway to the American Dream by Pamela Reeves, © 2002. GGA Image ID # 19fa173007

ELLIS ISLAND STANDS AS A MONUMENT to America’s rich cultural heritage. The millions of immigrants who passed through its gates have become a vital part of the nation—today, four in ten Americans can trace their family roots back through Ellis Island. The fascinating story of the small island that became the “gateway to America” is filled with moments of excitement and joy, sadness and despair, and above all, hope.

Now, the history of Ellis Island comes to life through an extraordinary collection of personal accounts, insightful commentary, and haunting photographs. This engrossing volume explores the unique role that Ellis Island played from the years 1892 to 1954, and describes its reconstruction and present status as a national monument.

The first receiving station for newcomers to the United States was a state-run facility called Castle Garden, opened in 1855. The anecdotes in Ellis Island let you relive the experiences of these early immigrants, including the conditions of their ships, the swindlers who preyed on them, and American attitudes toward them.

Partly to remedy the abuses common at Castle Garden, the federal government assumed responsibility for immigration and built Ellis Island in 1892. As the numbers of newcomers grew, the system became more complicated.

This book describes the official journey undertaken by those who passed through Ellis Island and tells the sometimes shameful stories of the corrupt administrators as well as the inspiring tales of the courageous reformers who welcomed and worked for the benefit of the immigrants.

A fascinating glimpse of the mixed feelings of the immigrants themselves is given through their letters and stories, passed from generation to generation. The written observations of authors such as Charles Dickens and Robert Louis Stevenson provide still other impressions of Ellis Island.

The unique events and changing policies of Ellis Island reflect the nation’s own development. The “deportation delirium” caused by the Red Scare, the first quota laws, the closing of the island in 1954, and the opening of the Ellis Island Museum all represent important moments in American history.

A special section complete with color phew-tographs highlights the newest development for the island—the restoration of its buildings and its new status as a national monument in honor of the many immigrants who began new lives at Ellis Island. Also included is information on how to trace your ancestry through the island.

Whether your own family history is entwined with Ellis Island or you are an American history enthusiast, this fascinating compendium of facts, reminiscences, and photographs is sure to become a treasured part of your library.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Castle Garden
  • Chapter Two: The Golden Doorway into America Opens
  • Chapter Three: The Great Hall Fire and the Era of Reform
  • Chapter Four: Island of Hope, Island of Tears
  • Chapter Five: The Old Country
  • Chapter Six: Deportation Delirium
  • Chapter Seven: Revival and Restriction
  • Chapter Eight: Decline and Rediscovery of Ellis Island


  • United States Immigration 1892-1954
  • Tracing Your Ancestry
  • Bibliography
  • Endnotes
  • Index

About the Author

PAMELA REEVES is an editor with Scripps Howard News Service in Washington, DC, and author of a book for young people, What Was Watergate?, published in 1990 by St. Martin’s Press. She lives in McLean, Virginia, with her husband, Michael Kilian, and their two sons, Eric and Colin.

Library of Congress Catalog Listing

  • LC Control No.: 91168447
  • Type of Material: Book (Print, Microform, Electronic, etc.)
  • Personal Name: Kilian, Pamela.
  • Main Title: Ellis Island : gateway to the American dream / Pamela Reeves.
  • Published/Created: New York : Crescent Books : Distributed by Outlet Book Co., 1991.
  • Description: 144 p. : ill. (some col.); 26 cm.
  • ISBN: 0517059053
  • Notes: "A Friedman Group book"--T.p. verso. Includes bibliographical references (p. 138-139) and index.
  • Subjects: Ellis Island Immigration Station (N.Y. and N.J.) --History. Immigrants --United States --History. United States --Emigration and immigration --History.
  • LC Classification: JV6484 .K54 1991
  • Dewey Class No.: 325.73/09 20
  • Geographic Area Code: n-us---


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