More Immigrants Stories

Emigrants [i.e. immigrants] landing at Ellis Island
R/K: Alfred C. Abadie (Alfred Camille). P: Thomas A. Edison, Inc. USA 1903
Location: Ellis Island, New York
Print: Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)

“Ellis Island was the gateway to American life for millions of immigrants from 1892 to 1954. This film, shot by prolific filmmaker, writer, producer, and director Alfred C. Abadie, was a production of Thomas A. Edison’s Edison Manufacturing Company. It was listed in a contemporary company catalog under the title ‘Emigrants Landing at Ellis Island’ with the description: ‘Shows a large open barge loaded with people of every nationality, who have just arrived from Europe, disembarking at Ellis Island, N.Y.’ The film opens with a view of the ferryboat William Myers, laden with passengers, approaching the immigration station. The vessel is docked, the gangway is placed, and the passengers are seen coming up the gangway. The film does not show the next stage of the immigration process facing the new arrivals. Entrants were interrogated–often by officials who could not speak their language–and given medical examinations. Many were quarantined or denied entrance after being labeled as diseased or ‘likely to become a public charge.'”
World Digital Library

Move On
R/K: Alfred C. Abadie (Alfred Camille). P: Thomas A. Edison, Inc. USA 1903
Location: Lower East Side, New York
Print: Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)

From a contemporary Edison film company catalog:
“MOVE ON. In certain sections of New York City large numbers of Jewish and Italian push-cart vendors congregate so closely along the sidewalks that they interfere with traffic. Policemen keep them moving. The picture shows how the frightened peddlers hurry away when a bluecoat appears. Some of the carts are piled high with fruits of all kinds, and it is interesting and amusing to see the expressions of combined fear and anxiety on the faces of the men as they hurry away; the fear of being arrested if they stand, and of losing some of their wares if the carts strike an obstruction in the street. Very fine photographically.”
Library of Congress

“In the National Film Preservation Foundation’s notes on this Edison short, which depicts a policeman driving away pushcart fruit vendors on the streets of Manhattan, Scott Simmon writes, ‘As with many early actualities, it is difficult to say how much of Move On is document and how much was staged for the camera—probably a little of both.’ Certainly the policeman comes across as a bit self-conscious and stiff, but apart from that, the film — in spite of its simple subject and brief runtime — offers a vivid glimpse of everyday life in New York during that time period.”
Cinematic Scribblings

Alfred C. Abadie
“A New York City native, Abadie began as camera assistant to James H. White at the Edison Studio around 1898. In 1903, Edison sent Abadie to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa to make actuality films, possibly as an attempt to keep up with similar subjects popularized by the Lumières. Abadie returned to the United States and kept making similar films for Edison through at least 1904. After leaving Edison, Abadie continued to work as a freelance filmmaker and photographer, making educational and industrial films, including Birth (1917), the first film of the birth of a baby.”