This week, the American Museum of Natural History published a treasure trove of historical photographs from its extensive library. The Digital Special Collections contain startling fragments of history, and their website is well worth poking around more extensively.
The Lantern collection, which was originally used to illustrate public lectures at the museum, contains photographs of immigrants freshly landed on American soil. The photos, taken at Ellis Island, document immigrants from across Europe and Russia, from Turkey to the Netherlands. The dates of the photos are unknown, but are likely from sometime in the early 1900s. The hand-colorized slides are striking, especially for depicting the traditional dress from each country, and serve as a poignant reminder of Americans' diverse ancestry.
This immigration station at Ellis Island is where immigrants to the U.S. started their naturalization process.
An anonymous Italian woman looks on.
This Turkish bank guard looks stern.
A Greek priest arrived at Ellis Island in full clergy garb.
These three Scottish lads are quite jaunty, from their feathered caps to their buckled shoes.
A group of Serbian Romanies—otherwise known as gypsies.
This Romanian piper showed off for the camera ...
... While these women donned traditional Dutch bonnets.
The museum's caption for this photo is simple: "Dutch children holding cards."
This Romanian woman is wearing a traditional embroidered folk vest and headscarf.
These three Cossacks—yes, those Cossacks—clearly coordinated their outfits.
And this Ruthenian (aka Ukrainian) woman looks a bit worse for wear after a long trip across the Atlantic. Here's hoping the trip was worth it!