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Immigration – Creating the United States

As one who works on genealogy in her spare time, I have always (well, since I was a teenager) been interested in immigration. This is why when I came across two prints showing before and after images of a gentleman who emigrated to the United States, I wanted to share them. Immigrants are a vital part of our country and who we are, despite how horribly they have often been treated.

I think what I liked most about these two prints is what they imply. The first, titled “Outward Bound”, shows a man who is clearly poor and fallen upon hard times studying an advertisement for a ship to New York and holding what is most likely his last coin. The second image shows the same man (at least I assume it’s the same man) cleaned up and well dressed, clearly much better off than he was in Ireland, looking at an advertisement for a ship back to Ireland.

There are also very clear changes in the background of the images suggesting America to be a land of wealth and prosperity. The background in the first image is rather shabby. Paint on the walls is peeling, old posters are still attached to the wall, and from what we can see in the far background, the ships don’t appear to necessarily be well cared for. Where the man is standing on the second image is clean and neat and the ships in the far background have their sails fully out. Once again, it gives the impression of prosperity. The United States was definitely seen as a land of hope, where you could live as you wish and prosper. It makes me really proud when I think about my ancestors and everything they went through so that I could have the life I do and I am very thankful for this. And I guess this is why these two prints are so appealing to me. Hopefully others can appreciate them as well.

Full information for the prints is as follows:

Title for #1: Outward Bound, The Quay of Dublin

Title for #2: Homeward Bound, The Quay of New York

Painted by J. Nicol; Drawn of stone by Thomas Herbert Maguire, Lithographic artist to the Queen.

Printed by M. & N. Hanhart; Published by Henry Graves & Co., 6, Pall Mall, London, May 24th, 1854, & Williams Stevens & Williams, Broadway, New York.

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