Duchess Samples Ellis Island Pie - 1907
A Duchess Concerned in the Welfare of Aliens at Ellis Island. Notable Group Pictured During the Recent Visit on 15 November 1907 of the Duchess of Marlborough to the Immigration Station at Ellis Island, New York Harbor. Left to right: Mrs. Clarence H. Mackay, Commissioner of Immigration, Robert Watchorn, The Duchess of Marlborough, and Clarence H. Mackay. Leslie's Weekly, 5 December 1907. GGA Image ID # 14dda730bc
Makes a Tour of Inspection, with Mr. and Mrs. Mackay, as Watchorn's Guest.
PASSES THE INSPECTORS And Demonstrates Her Right to Enter the Port — Gives Aid to Immigrants.
The Duchess of Marlborough partook yesterday of the great American product - pie. Furthermore, she showed her patriotism by announcing that she liked it.
This all came about when the Duchess, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Clarence H. Mackay, visited the immigration station on Ellis Island as the guest of Commissioner Robert Watchorn.
The party inspected. every department of the big building where. Immigrants must go before they are allowed to land on American soil. Not satisfied with a mere Inspection of the place, the Duchess " got into line," answered questions for the Inspectors, and pretty thoroughly demonstrated her right to return to her native land.
The Duchess, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Mackay, went to Ellis Island at 10:45 o'clock in the morning on the Immigration cutter Immigrant, leaving from the yacht basin at Pier 1.
On their arrival at Ellis Island they were met by Commissioner Watchorn, Assistant Commissioner Joseph Murray, and Harry Balfe, the commissary agent.
Their first visit was to the registration floor, where the steerage passengers from the Russian steamer Petersburg and the North German Lloyd liner Main were being passed.
The Duchess showed great Interest In the operation of finding out the qualifications of the Immigrants to be admitted into the country, and she went before an Inspector and answered, smilingly, a number of questions, Just to "see how it was."
From the registration floor the party went to the dormitories, and from there they went to the detention rooms, saw the workings of the Board of Inquiry, and the money exchange. In the money exchange room Commissioner Watchorn presented to each of the visitors two Russian rubles.
It was the restaurant which had a special attraction for the visitors. They watched the giving out of food to the Immigrants. who were leaving for their destinations, and In a burst of enthusiasm the Duchess expressed a desire to taste the pie which is provided for the Immigrants.
Several boxes of food, ready for distribution, were opened, and the Duchess and Mrs. Mackay sampled the pie. Mr. Balfe cut generous slices, and they were evidently enjoyed. Mr. Mackay contented himself by sampling the apples.
The Duchess assisted a number of Immigrants with small sums of money to aid them in getting to the West, and thus strengthened their belief In this great and glorious country.
Mrs. Mackay was Interested in John McDermott, the manager of the Postal telegraph office on Ellis Island.
"You are rather a young man to be the manager of an office" she said, looking at McDermott with astonishment.
It was explained to her that the seeming youthful manager was a married man, and at that a laugh went up.
After the tour of Inspection the party was entertained at luncheon by Commissioner Watchorn and Mr. Murray. Before leaving the Duchess said:
"I have been much Interested and pleased with all I have seen. The food was fine, particularly the pie."
"Duchess Sample Ellis Island Pie," in The New York Times, Friday, 15 November 1907, p. 9.