Photographs of Ellis Island by the pioneering social photographer Lewis W. Hine, who photographed at the immigration station between 1904 and 1909, and again in 1926 to observe reforms. Views consist of immigrants of various ethnic origins posing for the camera or candidly engaged in activities at Ellis Island, ranging from single persons to entire families. Two photographs in this group, 91PH56.007 and 91PH056.165 were attributed to Hine but are actually by Augustus F. Sherman. Some items printed later from original negatives housed at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House and are stamped "George Eastman House, Inc. Photograph." Titles, dates, negative numbers, photographer's credit inscribed in ink or pencil, verso on some items. Photographer's stamps, verso on some items.
Acquisition: Romana Javitz Collection; transferred from the Picture Collection, 1991.
Statement of responsibility: L. W. Hine.
Biographical/historical: Photographs by the pioneering social photographer Lewis W. Hine (1874-1940) came to the Library primarily in two ways. Romana Javitz, head of the Library's Picture Collection, began to solicit gifts and buy prints from Hine himself shortly after he exhibited his photographs of the Empire State Building in 1931. Then, in 1949, the Russell Sage Foundation transferred to the Library a series of prints it had commissioned from Hine for its library. The foundation had asked Hine in his final years to create a systematic, definitive collection of his life work. The commission was only partly completed; Hine mounted the earliest series uniformly with typed captions on dark gray board (which accounts for the unusual appearance of some of these photos); and chose photos for the later series, but died in 1940 before preparing the latter group for library use. Mounting and titling was completed in the 1960s by the staff of what is now the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy. These photographs were transferred in the late 1980s to the Photography Collection of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs.