Author Virtual Event Series

Author Virtual Event Series

These past few months have been a challenging time for everyone. Like most other historic and cultural sites and institutions, our on-site programs have stopped and our buildings are empty. However, at Save Ellis Island we know that our story is more important now than ever. A groundbreaking hospital designed and built to keep infectious and contagious disease spreading to our country may have once seemed abstract, even to those who toured the halls of our Hospital Complex. Now everyone has a greater understanding and appreciation for the tremendous accomplishment that happened on this small island. No epidemic or pandemic has ever been traced back to Ellis Island.

While not being able to greet visitors for our Hard Hat Tour Program has been difficult and resulted in a loss of revenue, it has made us look more closely at what we can do as an organization to tell the Ellis Island story and to reach as broad an audience as possible. The initial result has been our new Virtual Event Author Series. Although we are asking for donations, the programs are free thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. Sponsorships are still available and you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Fall of Marigolds.  SusanMeissner

Our first program featured best-selling author and Save Ellis Island Board of Directors member Susan Meissner. Her book, A Fall of Marigolds, centers on the life of an Ellis Island nurse who has come to seek refuge from a painful loss. Meissner performed a short reading from her book and then gave the audience a look at how she was inspired by Ellis Island to create her novel. An enthusiastic audience Q&A session followed. 

Attendee William Baker said, “It rekindled memories of Ellis Island. The discussion about the nurses reminded me off my very close connection to one of the EI nurses, Mrs. Brave, who was like an aunt to me.”

forgotten ellis coverLorie Conway

Most recently, on July 9, documentary filmmaker and author Lorie Conway joined us for a screening of the 30-minute version of her film – Forgotten Ellis Island. The only documentary to focus solely on the Ellis Island Hospital, it is an opportunity to revisit the hospital for anyone who has toured the Hospital in the past and a chance for those who have not visited to get a sense of the space. After the screening, Conway gave participants insight into how this documentary film was developed. Alan Kraut, Distinguished Professor of History at American University and a Non-Resident Fellow of the Migration Policy Institute, who was featured in the documentary, joined her and together they answered a wide variety of questions from the audience. Audience response was consistently enthusiastic.

Catherine Grimes said, “Lorie's commentary afterward was superb and enlightening.”


Actor and author Jamie Lee Curtis will join us for our next program with a live reading on Thursday, July 23 at 2 PM EDT of her children’s book, This is I: A Story of Who We Are and Where We Came From.  In the book Curtis poses the question – if you were to leave home for another country, what would you choose to bring with you? 

While the events are free, we encourage donations. Donors of $25 or more will receive a signed copy of the featured author’s book.

Register or Learn more about our Author's Series