Winter Speaker Series: Vincent Cannato

February 2, 2019 2:00 pm Griswold House

"The Ellis Island Effect: Attitudes Towards Immigration, Then and Now"

Vincent Cannato, Associate Professor of History, UMASS Boston

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the heyday of America’s last great wave of immigration, the American public and its elected representatives debated which immigrants were fit for entry and which were considered “undesirable.” Immigration officials were then tasked with inspecting these immigrants and deciding who would be allowed to enter the country and who would be deported back home. Ellis Island, which then processed 75 percent of immigrants to the country, became the focal point for that debate. Today, Ellis Island’s story provides an important historical precedent regarding how Americans approached the question of immigration a century ago, and perhaps can provide timely lessons to consider during the current immigration crisis.

Each lecture will be followed by audience Q&A, and continued conversation in the galleries over  hot tea, coffee, and scrumptious light fare and desserts, courtesy of Blenheim-Newport, a Benchmark Senior Living Community.

American Passage: The History of Ellis Island, by Vincent Cannato, will be available for purchase.



Vincent Cannato earned his Ph.D. in History at Columbia University in 1998, and has taught History at the University of Massachusetts, Boston since 2002. In addition to serving on numerous panels and conferences, he has published several books, essays and articles, including American Passage: The History of Ellis Island (Harper Collins, June 2009). Forthcoming publications include the book Powerhouse: Francis Cardinal Spellman, American Catholics, and the Cold War, and the essay Ellis Island Immigration Station for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History.

Thank you to our generous sponsors

Lee C. Bakalarski
Lockett Ford Ballard, Jr., in memory of Canon Lockett Ford Ballard & Charlotte Carr Morrinson Ballard
Johanna and Ronald Becker
Anita and George Furbish
Mary Jennings
Cynthia Sinclair
Kathleen Shinners
The Hope Foundation

This event is made possible by your support of the Annual Fund.

Thank you to the Winter Speaker Series Committee

Dick Hunt, Chairman
Burt Alpert
Bruce Amand
Johanna Becker
Eleanor Doumato
Jack Galvin
Anne DeBose Joslin
Susan Kieronski
Cristin Searles-Bilodeau
Kathleen Shinners