Skip to the main content

The Immigrants: The Story of a Photograph

A group of men, women and some children are gathered in the deck of a boat.

One of the visual icons of immigration to North America are photographs of newly-arrived immigrants, dockside just after their arrival.

A Scarlet Fever Quarantine and the Subsequent Adventures of a Spirited Little Girl

Scottish immigrant Christina McKay Liness Murchison didn’t let a little scarlet fever get her down. Her family’s home was quarantined due to her illness in the early days after their arrival in 1930 on the Duchess of Richmond.

“Mostly I remember…the time my second brother arrived…I had scarlet fever. I can remember a crib in the kitchen and my brother was in it…our whole house was quarantined and I can remember that. A big red sign on the door, "Quarantine." It was horrid. But that’s what they did back in those days and I had scarlet fever.”

One Person’s Quarantine Room Divider is Another Person’s Fort

Vita Seidler contracted the measles shortly after emigrating from Russia with her mother and siblings in December of 1928 to join their father in Montreal.

“…my dad met us in Montreal…Ah, the excitement! I got off and we went to another cousin that we stayed with,” Vita explained.

“They had one double bed, so there is my cousin and his wife, my little brother and myself, and my brother Lou; we all shared one bed.