The CMS Archives

The Center for Migration Studies (CMS) Archives is a vital resource for researchers pursuing topics ranging from the experience of immigrants to the forces shaping the environment in which immigration takes place. Consisting of over 100 collections, the CMS Archives documents the immigrant experience of many communities in North America from the mid-19th to the 21st century. The CMS Archives is an especially rich source for Italian-American studies, offering papers of individuals from the worlds of education, entertainment, labor, politics and publishing, and the records of community organizations such as parishes and educational and historical associations. The CMS Archives documents the experience of immigrants in transit, and holds the papers of legislators who shaped U.S. law and records of agencies that advocated for and provided service to immigrants.

Our extensive holdings include:
  • Case histories of immigrants assisted by agencies working on Ellis Island;
  • Papers of individual immigrants who became successful in the United States through the arts, business, entertainment, labor organizing, the law, politics, and service to their communities;
  • The records of immigrant advocacy groups and community institutions;
  • The voluminous records of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, Bureau of Immigration;
  • More than 5,000 photographs of the immigrant experience, including books capturing the orphaned offspring of American servicemen and Korean and Japanese women;
  • Correspondence between Catholic leaders strategizing over possible responses to anti-Catholic bigotry and nativism; and
  • The largest surviving collection of material – including photographs — related to displaced persons in transit through New York after World War II.

Search the CMS Archives

  • Browse all of our collections by clicking here.
  • To browse by subject, click on a subject in the link cloud to your right.
  • Search our collections by keyword by using the search box to your left.

For more information or to request access to documents, please contact