Millions of immigrants came in through Ellis Island from the day it opened in 1892 to the day it closed in 1954. Amateur photographer Augustus Sherman, who worked there as a registry clerk from 1892 to 1925, took hundreds of photos of the new arrivals, often in elaborate traditional dress they had brought with them. He gave the photos simple labels—“Italian woman,” “Scottish boys,” “German stowaway”—that tell the barest of background stories. Courtesy of the Ellis Island Collection at The New York Public Library Digital Collections, here are 12 of Sherman’s portraits of immigrants on their way to a new life in the U.S.

1. 'Rev. Joseph Vasilon, Greek-Orthodox priest'

2. 'Guadeloupean woman'

3. 'German stowaway'

4. 'Turkish man'

5. 'Scottish boys'

6. 'Three Dutch women'

7. 'Gypsy family'

8. 'Algerian man'

9. 'Dutch children'

10. 'Italian woman'

11. 'Cossack man from the steppes of Russia'

12. 'Norwegian woman'

You can see more at the Ellis Island collection at The New York Public Library Digital Collections, and in the book Augustus F. Sherman: Ellis Island Portraits 1905-1920.