Smithsonian Voices

From the Smithsonian Museums

Starting at the Source: Lewis Hine and Labor

Between 1904 and 1926, the American photographer Lewis Hine (1874–1940) photographed countless newcomers at the Ellis Island Immigration Station in New York Harbor. While there, he trained his lens on people of all ages, from infants to the elderly, coping with the emotions and monotony of the bureaucratic processes. Many of these photographs, including the Young Jewess Arriving at Ellis Island (1905), now in the exhibition The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers (on view through September 3, 2018), have become the go-to images used to illustrate the history of immigration to the United States at the turn of the twentieth century.