The United States has always been a nation of immigrants, welcoming people from all corners of the Earth, of every faith and background. This heritage is evident in photographs of newcomers arriving on U.S. shores in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
These portraits emerged from New York’s Ellis Island, a historic site that is now part of the National Park Service. Between 1892 and 1954, Ellis Island served as a processing station for millions of immigrants coming to America in search of better lives. As the park service marks its 100th anniversary in 2016, we look back at a particular 33-year span of the peopling of America, as captured through the lens of Augustus Sherman. He worked as a clerk at Ellis Island from 1892 until his death in 1925 and documented the people making a leap from familiar territory to the unknown.
Staff writer Lauren Monsen contributed to this article.