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Diaspora

Almos Baba
Iranian woman arrives in America in 1929

November 14, 2004
iranian.com

This is the text of a document from 1929 on public display at Ellis Island museum in New York. It records the arrival of Almos Baba Shiman, an Iranian woman to America. Thanks to Ali Tavaf for sending a photo of the displayed document.

SHIMAN, Almos Baba, 21, Persian
Father: Baba Shiman
1239 Everett St
Flint, Mich.

This Persian girl, who is supposed to be only 21 years old but who looks to me more like thirty, was detained because she needed an affidavit of support from her father and $50. The Flint Institute referred her to us and we did the usual honors.

The girl carried a suitcase which weighed about 30 pounds and a samovar bought in Batum [seaport in Russian Transcaucasia]. We separated her from the suitcase and packed the samovar in a paper box.

The weather was very miserable with a cold northeast wind and plentiful rain. She had nothing on but a rayon sweater to stand between herself and the elements. I found her a nice apple green coat and a black velvet hat. It fitted her nicely over her bobbed heavy, very curly black hair.

She was less than 5 feet tall, with a small face, and a nose that might have been aquiline if it had been pointed. Her small brown shrewd eyes and well cut mouth spoke of intelligence and determination.

She started from Tabriz, Persia, in the early part of July [1929]. From there she went to Batum, from there to Constantinople, from there to Marseilles, from there to Paris, from Paris to Cherbourg and then on to New York.

Apparently this did not upset [her] very much except that she walked with a drooping head. I joked about it and told her that it was no good to carry her head so low. She smiled and said she would be better.

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