Forgotten Ellis Island
is a documentary
film directed by Lorie Conway
and narrated by Elliot Gould
. It is also a book by Lorie Conway, published by Smithsonian Books 2007. The film took 9 years to produce and was supported by three grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Constructing the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital
<center> "It was a general hospital of all nations."
Three times previously in the nineteenth century, the United States had suffered a devastating cholera
outbreak, each originating abroad. Would the Moravia'
s arrival mark the start of the fourth?
Opened as a port of entry only eight months earlier, Ellis Island
was poorly equipped to handle the threat. Its two-story wooden dispensary had neither the staff nor the laboratory to contain a disease as deadly as cholera. Believing he had no other choice, Dr. W.T. Jenkins, the Port of New York's health officer, ordered the Moravia
to anchor offshore until the outbreak was contained. Five days later, two more "death ships", the Rugia
, steamed into New York harbor, and they, too, were ordered to anchor offshore. Dr. Jenkins warned that anyone — passenger or crew member — who tried to leave the quarantined ships would be shot. More than a thousand passengers were stranded on the ships, and they begged to be let off, fearing that infected passengers put them at risk. Their plea was denied. Over the next several days, additional cases broke out,... Read More