Thursday, November 01, 2007

(Almost) Forgotten Ellis Island

Lorie Conway has filmed a documentary about the 22-building hospital complex at Ellis Island. There are also a Forgotten Ellis Island book and website.

Ms. Conway found that hundreds of thousands of patient records had essentially disappeared; she hopes that her film will turn up new clues as to where they have been moved.

Over years of research, Ms. Conway said, she was able to find only one complete patient record — that of Ormond J. McDermott, an Australian who was not trying to immigrate, but merely visit to New York, in 1921. He accidentally left his passport on a ship, and was detained at Ellis Island while the authorities investigated his claims to be a sales apprentice, rather than a contract laborer. While on Ellis Island, he developed scarlet fever; he died. Mr. McDermott’s file ended up at the State Department after his father, part of an influential Australian family, filed a complaint and asked for an investigation. [Link]

Lisa / Smallest Leaf

Thanks very much for your post about the Ellis Island hospital. I was aware of the book but not the film and the website. It's an amazing story. Thanks for passing it on.

I have a family connection to the hospital and have shared the story at 100 Years in America -

Thanks again for the good information!

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