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Oral Histories

Explore Our Expanding Collection of Oral Histories

 Search Our Library of 1900 Interviews!

Since 1973, the Ellis Island Oral History project has been dedicated to preserving the first-hand recollections of immigrants who passed through the Ellis Island immigration station between 1892 and 1954 and the employees who worked there.

Over the years, the project has grown to include approximately 1900 interviews. The interviews include people from dozens of countries, former Immigration and Public Health Service employees, military personnel stationed at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty as well as people detained at Ellis Island during World War II until it closed in 1954.

Each person interviewed receives a tape of the interview which describes their daily life in the country of origin, family history, reasons for emigration, journey to New York arrival and processing at Ellis Island and the immigrants' adjustment to life in the United States.

For Further Information About the Ellis Island Oral History Program, Please Contact: 

Oral History Program,

Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration,
New York City, NY, 10004
or call (646) 356-2159
and Email:

The Ellis Island Oral History interviews are available to researchers and interested members of the public in the Oral History Library, located on the third floor of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. People wishing to use the complete interviews, both as recordings or on-screen transcripts may do so by using the specially designed computer stations in this room.

Simple instructions found on the computer screen assist the user with locating any desired interviews and pertinent information. These computers contain the oral history interviews only and do not contain general immigration records such as ship manifests, passports etc.

Begun In 1973, The Oral History Project Has Grown To Number Nearly 1900 Interviews.

Each interview includes an examination of everyday life in the country of origin, family history, reasons for coming to the United States, the journey to the existing port, experiences or the ship, arrival and processing at the Ellis Island facility and an in-depth look at the adjustment to living in the United States. Approximately fifteen interviews are added yearly by full time and volunteer staff members.

Listen to Immigrants Tell Their Stories!


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