Flashback Friday: Ellis Island 1954
Sixty-five years ago, [today] on November 12, 1954, a Norwegian merchant seaman named Arne Peterssen became the last immigrant to pass through Ellis Island. Later that month, the ferry Ellis Island made its final stop at the island in New York Harbor and the immigration facility closed for good, ending its run as a gateway to the United States for generations of immigrants.
These days Ellis Island is a national symbol remembered in sepia tones but, while it was in active service, the station reflected the country’s complicated relationship with immigration, one that evolved from casual openness to rigid restriction. “It was not a great welcoming place for immigrants but, it was not a place of horrors either,” says Vincent Cannato, author of American Passage: The History of Ellis Island.
Until the end of the 19th century, individual states handled immigration with rules varying by jurisdiction. [T]hen, immigration soared. In light of the influx, the federal government decided in 1891 that it had to take charge.
New York was immigration’s epicenter. Some 75 percent of the country’s steamship traffic came through New York Harbor and so did 75 percent of the nation’s immigrants, according to Cannato. New York state ran an immigration facility called Castle Gardens at the tip of Manhattan but, the new federal Office of Immigration wanted an intake and inspection station in a more controlled location. It selected Ellis Island, a three-acre spot of land in the harbor between New York and New Jersey […].
The immigrants who eventually passed through Ellis Island started their journey by buying passage on a steamship, usually sailing from Europe. Between 1892 and 1924, 12 million people successfully traversed this highly efficient conveyor-belt immigration system. Most immigrants were processed through Ellis Island in a few hours and only 2 percent that arrived on the island were prevented from entering the United States.
[T]his era of mass immigration came to an end with the passage in 1921 and 1924 of new laws that severely limited immigration by establishing quotas for individual countries and requiring immigrants to obtain visas from American consulates. Since most official immigration screening now happened at U.S. consulates abroad, Ellis Island became increasingly irrelevant. The facility, which had once teemed with thousands of hopeful immigrants, transformed into “a major center for deportation and for holding enemy alien spies,” says [Barry] Moreno. “It was like night and day.” President Eisenhower quietly closed Ellis Island in 1954.
How Ellis Island Shepherded Millions of Immigrants Into America
November 13, 2019
Flashback Friday: Kodak 1888
One-hundred, thirty-two years ago, today, inventor George Eastman received a patent (number 388,850) for [the shutter of a roll-film hand camera] and the trademark (number 15,825) for the Kodak name […].
Birth of a Company
In 1879, London was the center of the photographic and business world. George Eastman went there to obtain a patent on his plate-coating machine. An American patent was granted the following year. In April 1880, Eastman leased the third floor of a building on State Street in Rochester and began to manufacture dry plates for sale. Success of the dry plate venture so impressed businessman Henry A. Strong, that he invested some money in the infant concern. On January 1, 1881, Eastman and Strong formed a partnership called The Eastman Dry Plate Company. While actively managing all phases of the firm’s activities, [Eastman] continued research in an effort to simplify photography.
In 1883, Eastman startled the trade with the announcement of film in rolls, with the roll holder adaptable to nearly every plate camera on the market. [By] 1884, the Eastman-Strong partnership had given way to a new firm…the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company with 14 shareowners.
George Eastman History
Building the Foundation
The immediate triumph of the camera prompted Eastman to change the name of his company from Eastman Dry Plate and Film Company to Eastman Kodak Company in 1892.
My very first camera was a late 70s Kodak Instamatic with 126 film. It was a gift from my paternal grandmother and it got a lot of use. ~Vic
Additional Reading & Sources:
From The Camera Obscura To The Revolutionary Kodak (Eastman Museum)
Kodak History (Kodak Company)
TV Tuesday: The Flame Is Love 1979
Forty years ago, today, the television film The Flame Is Love aired on NBC. Based on the Barbara Cartland novel of the same name, it starred Linda Purl, Shane Briant, Timothy Dalton, Richard Johnson and Joan Greenwood. Directed and co-produced by Michael O’Herlihy, it was written by Hindi Brooks (teleplay) and filmed in Ireland.
Synopsis from The Movie Database:
This sudsy made-for-TV melodrama is based on a Barbara Cartland novel and follows the romantic exploits of an American heiress who sets sail for exciting Paris at the turn-of-the-century. She is traveling there to meet her fiance but, ends up falling in love with a French journalist.
Synopsis from the actual novel:
Reluctant to accept her arranged marriage to an English Duke she has never met, beautiful, young, American oil heiress, Emmeline Nevada Holtz, nicknamed “Vada” after the state, travels to Paris to buy her trousseau before meeting her husband-to-be. When her travelling companion, Nancy Sparling, has an accident and hurts her leg, Vada assumes her name to avoid unwelcome attention. [She] travels on with just her elderly maid, determined to make the most of her last chance to explore Bohemian Paris and, the wonders of the city that she had heard and read so much about. At her hotel she finds a handsome intruder in her suite, not a thief as she at first thinks but, a journalist looking to interview the famous heiress Emmeline. Smitten by this charismatic Frenchman and his talk of poetry, Vada finds herself agreeing to go with him to the Soleil d’Or, wellspring of the Symbolist movement. Soon, they are deeply and uncontrollably in love, a love that is surely doomed by her deception, her betrothal to the Duke and, now, a terrifying ordeal at a Satanist Black Mass on the dark side of the City of Light.
Timothy Dalton’s character Marquis de Guaita is based on Stanislas de Guaita, the founder of Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Cross (Rosicrucians).
The Complete Movie