Ellis Island: echoes from a nation's past
"When we got towards Ellis Island the boat slowed down and oh, I felt better and I was happy. When we saw Miss Liberty I can't tell you the feeling that we had. We were so happy, we started to sing. We sang Hungarian, but I'll translate it in English: 'In America life is golden. In America it's never dark. In America there's lots of money. In America the girl is happy. In America the flowers are more beautiful. In America the world is much better. In America living is golden. And that's where I'm longing to be, my dear.'" --Renee Berkoff, Hungarian, at Ellis Island in 1922
Ancestors of nearly one half of all the people living in the United States today came to America through the immigration port of Ellis Island. Like the Statue of Liberty, the faces on Mt. Rushmore, and the San Francisco Bay Bridge, Ellis Island has come to represent the expansive spirit of the nation, a symbol of its identity.
To commemorate the major restoration of this historic site, Aperture celebrates the 27 1/2-acre monument in Upper New York Bay with a book of vibrant photographs and words-- "Ellis Island: Echoes from a Nation's Past." With historical and new pictures from some of the best photographers of our time-- including Lewis Hine, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Jerry Uelsmann, Larry Fink, and others-- and excerpts from oral histories, Ellis Island reverberates with the excitement and drama of the millions of immigrants who were welcomed to America through its doors. Specially commissioned essays by Norman Kotker, Shirley C. Burden, Charles Hagen, and Robert Twombly evoke the feeling of the past and attest to the island's pivotal significance in the nation's history.
Images by Lewis Hine, AugustusSherman, and Edward Levick document the peak years of immigration. Alfred Eisenstaedt, Shirley C. Burden, and Joel Greenberg are among those who capture the years of the island's decline and abandonment. The restoration process and the lure of Ellis Island have been photographed by Sandi Fellman, Zeke Berman, Nancy Goldring, Larry Fink, Madoka, Geanna Merola, Lorie Novak, Jan Staller, Roger Mertin, Mariana Cook, Sylvia Plachy, Emmet Gowin, Klaus Schnitzer, Robert Sennhauser, Ed Grazda, Christopher Barnes, and others.
In 1984, Ellis Island was closed to allow massive reconstruction. After a six-year hiatus, this entry point to America between 1892 and 1954 reopened to the public, bringing with it a renewed interest in our rich multi-ethnic, multi-racial heritage. It is estimated that fifteen million people explore the park each year. With 45 four-color and 115 black-and-white duotone photographs.
"Ellis Island "accompanied a major exhibition selected and organized by Klaus Schnitzer of Montclair State College and Brian Feeney of the National Park Service.
Shirley C. Burden was a longtime supporter of the Museum of Modern Art, the Tokyo Museum, and other galleries and museums throughout the world. Photographer and author of "God Is My Life" (1960), "I Wonder Why ..." (1963), "Behold Thy Mother "(1965), "Presence" (1981), "Chairs" (1985), and "The Many Faces of Mary" (1989), Mr. Burden also taught photography at the Art Center College in Pasadena, California, from 1978 to 1987.
Charles Hagen is a photographer and writer. He has written on photography for the" New York Times," "Artforum,"" ARTnews," "Camera Arts," and the "Village Voice," and was formerly editor of thepublications "Afterimage" and "Aperture."
Paul Kinney was Museum Curator at the Statue of Liberty National Monument from 1980 to 1986. He has also served as Director of Development for the Staten Island Historical Society at the Richmondtown Restoration, Staten Island, New York.
Norman Kotker is the author of four novels: "Billy in Love" (1996), "Learning About God" (1988), "Miss Rhode Island" (1978), and "Herzl the King" (1972). He is also the author of numerous histories, among them, "New England Past" (1980), "Massachusetts: A Pictorial History" (1976), and" The Earthly Jerusalem "(1969). From 1960 to 1969 he was editor of Horizon Books for the American Heritage Publishing Company.
Robert Twombly teaches architectural history at The City College of New York and is the co-author of the book" Toward an American Utopia: Social Thought, Iconography, and the Drawings of Louis Sullivan." He has also written "Power and Style: A Critique of Twentieth-Century Architecture in the United States" (1995), "Louis Sullivan: The Public Papers" (1988), "Louis Sullivan: His Life and Work" (1986), and" Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life and His Architecture" (1979).
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