American Family Immigration History Center. Explore Your Family History at Ellis Island.  
The Statue of Liberty-
Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.

  Sign Up Now!


Although millions of Americans can find their ancestors on the passenger manifests of the ships that arrived through the Port of New York and Ellis Island, many may be surprised to learn that prominent Americans traveled aboard those same ships, albeit not in steerage. These passengers included corporate barons, diplomats, actors, and prominent members of society, as well as U.S. Presidents.

Upon arrival in New York City, the ships would dock at the Hudson or East River piers. It was there the first and second class passengers would disembark, pass through Customs at the piers and enter the United States. (The steerage or third class passengers were transported from the piers by ferry or barge to Ellis Island, where they would undergo a medical and legal inspection before being allowed to enter the country.)

Six of our U.S. Presidents are featured here, having entered the Port of New York either before rising to the highest office in the land or after leaving the White House. We celebrate all of our Presidents who have served America with honor and distinction.

Theodore RooseveltTwenty-Sixth President 1901-1909
William H. TaftTwenty-Seventh President 1909-1913
Woodrow WilsonTwenty-Eighth President 1913-1921
Herbert HooverThirty-First President 1929-1933
Franklin RooseveltThirty-Second President 1933-1945
Dwight D. EisenhowerThirty-Fourth President 1953-1961

President Theodore Roosevelt Theodore RooseveltTwenty-Sixth President 1901-1909
Date of Arrival — June 18, 1910

After his term was over in 1909, Teddy Roosevelt and his son, Kermit, embarked on an African safari, which he later described in his book, African Game Trails. Following the safari, he and Kermit joined their family in Europe for a six-month "grand tour". President Roosevelt and his family boarded the Kaiserin Auguste Victoria in Southampton, England on June 10, 1910, arriving in New York eight days later.

View Passenger Manifest  |  View Passenger Record  |  View Ship Image

President William H. Taft William H. TaftTwenty-Seventh President 1909-1913
Date of Arrival — January 27, 1921

William H. Taft, who would be appointed Chief Justice of the United States in 1921 by President Harding, left in late December 1920 with his wife, Helen, for a two-month stay in Bermuda. But circumstances intervened when Taft was suddenly called home to help arbitrate the bankrupt Grand Trunk Railway takeover by the Canadian government. Just a month into their Bermudan visit, President Taft and Mrs. Taft departed Hamilton on the Fort Victoria and arrived in New York on January 27, 1921.

View Passenger Manifest  |  View Passenger Record  |  View Ship Image

President Woodrow Wilson Woodrow WilsonTwenty-Eighth President 1913-1921
Date of Arrival — December 16, 1912

Woodrow Wilson was elected President on November 5, 1912, defeating President William Howard Taft (Republican), former president Theodore Roosevelt (Progressive) and Eugene Debs (Socialist). After the election but prior to his March 1913 inauguration, President-elect Wilson, a Democrat who was then Governor of New Jersey, vacationed in Bermuda with his family. They returned on the Bermudian through New York Harbor on December 16, 1912.

View Passenger Manifest  |  View Passenger Record  |  View Ship Image

President Herbert Hoover Herbert HooverThirty-First President 1929-1933
Date of Arrival — May 3, 1917

During World War I Herbert Hoover worked in Europe with the Committee for Relief of Belgium to feed the country's citizens, who were suffering under German occupation and a British blockade. But when the United States declared war on Germany on April 6, 1917, President Wilson summoned him home to become U.S. Food Administrator, where Hoover would provide food to sustain the war effort both at home and abroad. Herbert Hoover arrived in New York on the Philadelphia on May 3, 1917.

View Passenger Manifest  |  View Passenger Record  |  View Ship Image

President Franklin Roosevelt Franklin RooseveltThirty-Second President 1933-1945
Date of Arrival — September 19, 1905

Franklin Roosevelt married Eleanor Roosevelt in New York City on St. Patrick's Day 1905. Since FDR was attending law school at Columbia University, the newlyweds delayed their honeymoon until the summer, when they took an extended vacation to Europe. The future four-term President and First Lady returned from their honeymoon on the Kronprinz Wilhelm, entering New York Harbor on September 19, 1905.

View Passenger Manifest  |  View Passenger Record  |  View Ship Image

President Dwight Eisenhower Dwight D. EisenhowerThirty-Fourth President 1953-1961
Date of Arrival — September 26, 1924

From 1922 to 1924 Dwight D. Eisenhower served as executive officer to Brigadier General Fox Conner, Army commander at the Panama Canal Zone. General Connor's mentoring of Eisenhower had an impact on his military thinking and the advancement of his military career. In September 1924, Eisenhower returned to the United States for his next assignment as Recreation Officer at the Third Corps Area headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. Eisenhower, his wife Mamie, and their young son, John, returned from the Panama Canal Zone on the Cristobal, arriving in New York on September 27, 1924.

View Passenger Manifest  |  View Passenger Record  |  View Ship Image

If you know the details for another U.S. President or other Ellis Island immigrant worthy of consideration for this list, please send us an email with passenger name, date of arrival, name of ship, and other details.


Presidential Portraits from; click on any image to go directly to the corresponding page.

  About the Foundation | Press | Contact Us | Terms of Use | FAQ | Privacy  180    ©2000-2010 by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.