Twelve million of our ancestors passed through Ellis Island on arriving in America between 1892 and 1954, offering a common heritage to more millions of later generations. The Newtown Historical Society will look at the history and traditions of Ellis Island in a presentation by Arthur Gottlieb.
Named after an early owner, colonial New Yorker Samuel Ellis, the once small oyster island was used by the state to hold a 20-gun battery protecting New York harbor from 1794. Annie Moore, a fifteen-year-old from Ireland coming to join her family, was the first person to be processed at the station on January 1, 1892, and she was given a $10 gold coin to mark her place in history. The processing time averaged 2-5 hours, with a questionnaire and a health exam included. Only about two percent were rejected, usually for health reasons, criminal backgrounds or suspected mental deficiencies.
Arthur Gottlieb was Technical Director of Exhibits at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in NYC, working with veterans from all services toward the creation of exhibits illustrating the history of 20th century warfare. He was an Auxiliary Officer of the Coast Guard for 17 years, and served as the Commander of a flotilla in Long Island Sound.
He currently offers Pro Bono trauma counseling for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
The presentation will be hel at 7.30 on April 14th in the meeting room of Booth Library.