Ellis Island Portraits
Aug 18, 2006
After our trip to The Genealogical convention in Stockholm we went further south to Norrköping to
a next exhibition. Even if we have seen Augustus Frederick Sherman photographies when we were at Ellis
Island, we wanted to see them here in Sweden! When we were at Ellis Island in New York we didnīt think so much about who have
taken the pictures.
The exhibition was at the museum of Work in Norrköping. This museum is just
beside the City museum down by the water. It nearly looks like the house is floating
on the surface. The house is the old Cotton factory, who Carl Milles called the
most beautiful factory buildning in Sweden.
|Picture: the museum of Work in Norrköping, Sweden
The museum of Work
When we arrived and were about to pay, they inform us that
the exhibition is all free - nice !
We took the elevator up to the exhibition and took a brochure who contained the
information about every picture. After that we went around in silence and
looked at all immigrants who had arrive during different years to Ellis Island.
We were nearly by ourselves and then it is easier to study every picture
a little bit closer than you usually are able to.
Russian motherless children and serious russian kosacks
There were photographes of russian motherless children and serious russian kosacks,
Italian, Germans, African and also a Swedish girl. Some were totally alone on the
pictures and on some you could see the whole family, on one picture you could see
a family with 11 children!. Imaging that they had travelled a couple
of weeks on the Sea and then arrived to the "Paradise", the US.
The photographs are taken of people who arrived to the quarantine or that needed
to be investigated further, for different reasons. It was at this time Sherman
had time to get his equipment ready to photograph. On most of the pictures
people are wearing their traditional costumes from their home countries.
Some photographs are taken on the outside of the main buildning and some
are taken inside. Some people who arrived was for example: one very tall man and
a dwarf who later on appeared at the circus.
Of course they should be investigated extra before they could enter the country,
due to that they didnīt look like other people.....
Sherman also had made som notes on some of the photos, were they came from - German, Danish etc and sometimes also on which ship they arrived.
One note from one of the pictures "young man with long dark hair, with an intensive
| Augustus Frederick Sherman (1866-1925)
A. F. Sherman worked as a clerk at the check-in at Ellis Island between the years
1892-1925. He liked to take pictures in his spare time and this later resulted
in a big collection of his photographs on Ellis Island.
Probably he didnīt think about the history he captured with his pictures -
when he only photographed for "fun".
In front om him sat people who have left their home country and didnīt even
know if they could enter in to the promised land or if they had to be sent back again.
- This you could see in their eyes. Nearly none gave a smile on the pictures, everyone
had a solemn look.
Of course ! you can not smile when you just had left your relatives back home and
you donīt know were your life and future is heading...
|A. F. Sherman was born in Pennsylvania 1866 and he came to New York 1892 when he started working at the Ellis Islands Immigration station. He work here til 1925 when he died of a heartattack.
To photograph in the 1800´s was a huge project. The big clumsy camera had to stand steady on its three legs and the photographer had to put his head under a black cloth during photographing... and the motif had to stand totally still.
His pictures was forgotten. 1969 Shermans niece - Mary Sherman Peters - donated all of the photos to the National Park Service. Today you´ll find his 235 photos at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
Info/Picture: Augustus F. Sherman - the National Park Service
A very nice exhibition
After the exhibition you start to think...you don´t have much to complain about.
It was a really nice and thoughtful exhibition. We hope you have had the opportunity to see A. F. Shermans beautiful photos. The photos are always on display at Ellis Island - Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
The exhibition will now continue to:
Liverpool (England), Fafe (Portugal), Paris (Frankrike) and then back to the US.
To the museum of Work in Norrköping »
More information about Augustus F. Sherman »