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.