Immigrants Hall of Fame
Leo Hendrik Baekeland (1863-1944)
Choreographer and dancer. He created more than 100 ballets, including "Don Quixote" and "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue." He helped organize the New York City Ballet and was its artistic director.
Balanchine was born Georgi Balanchivadze in St. Petersburg. He left Russia in 1924 while on tour with the Soviet State Dancers. He lived in France, then moved to the United States in 1933.
An aviator who was chief pilot of Richard Byrds Antarctic expedition. Balchen piloted the first flight across the South Pole. He was born in Norway, moving to the United States in 1926. He became a citizen in 1931. During world War II, Balchen was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force and headed a secret air ferry service supplying the Norwegian and Danish underground.
Maurice Barrymore (1847-1905)
Composer of highly-original orchestral and choral music, often using unfamiliar scales and peculiar harmonies. Bartok was born in what is now Romania of Hungarian stock. He studied and wrote most of his music in Budapest, Hungary. His music was largely unappreciated during his lifetime. In 1940 Bartok came to the United States and for a while lecturer at Columbia and Harvard universities. He died in New York City.
An expressionist painter known for his distorted forms, heavy lines, bright colors and complex symbolism. Painted "Blind Mans Bluff," "The Departure," "Begin the Beguine." Beckman was born in Leipzig, Germany. The Nazis branded his paintings "degenerate." He fled to Amsterdam and then settled in the United States in 1947.
Graham Bell (1847-1922)
August Belmont (1816-1890)
James Gordon Bennett, Sr.(1795-1872)
Founder and editor of the New York Herald. Bennett was the first editor to employ European correspondents, the first publisher to sell papers through newsboys, the first to use illustrations for news stories, and the first to publish stock-market prices and daily financial articles. Born in Scotland. Emigrated to New World in 1819.
Victor Louis Berger (1860-1929)
A founder of the Socialist Party in the U.S. He also was the first Socialist to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Berger was born in Nieder-Rehbach, Austria. He came to America in 1819 and settled in Milwaukee. He was elected to Congress in 1911.
When he was re-elected in 1918, the House of Representatives refused to seat him because he had been convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison for writing antiwar articles during World War I. Free on bail, Berger was re-elected in 1919, but again was denied his seat. In 1921, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed his conviction. Berger was re-elected in 1922, 1924 and 1926.
Composer and lyricist of popular songs. Among his many hits were "Blue Skies," "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody," "Easter Parade," "Im Dreaming of a White Christmas," and "God Bless America." He was born Israel Baline in Temun, Russia. His family brought his to the United States when he was four. One of his first jobs was as a singing waiter. He had no formal music training. His first big hit was "Alexanders Ragtime Band."
Invented the microphone and the "Gramophone" to play disc phonograph records. Later inventions included an air-cooled airplane engine and acoustic tiles. Born in Hanover, Germany. Came to the United States in 1870. He had no formal technical education.
Winner of the 1967 Nobel Prize in physics for his contributions to the theory of nuclear reactions, especially his explanation of the processes by which stars convert hydrogen into helium. Bethe directed theoretical work on the atomic bomb at the Los Alamos Laboratory. He pioneered in the development of quantum mechanics, and made important contributions to the study of atomic nuclei, charged particles, metals, shock waves, and microwaves.
Born in Strasbourg, Germany (now Strasbourg, France). He received a Ph.D. from the University of Munich in 1928. Came to America in 1935 to join the faculty of Cornell University. Became a U.S. citizen in 1941.
Ernest Bloch (1880-1959)
Anthropologist who rejected the notion that some races are superior to others, stating that there are no "pure" racial strains, but that all races are mixed. Born in Westphalia, Germany. He moved to the U.S. in 1886. From 1899 to 1937, he was professor of anthropology at Columbia University, the first to hold that post.
Edward W. Bok (1863-1930)
Author, editor, and philanthropist. His autobiography, "The Americanization of Edward Bok," emphasizes the opportunity awaiting an immigrant in the United States. Born in the Netherlands, brought to the U.S. at the age of six. From 1889 to 1919, he was editor of the Ladies Home Journal, where he pioneered the publication of frank articles on the problems of youth, womanhood and child care. In 1923 he established a $100,000 fund to be paid for a workable plan for world peace.
H. Burnett (1849-1924)
Alexander Graham Bell,
while experimenting with the telephone, had spilled some acid and called to his assistant
Watson in the next room. "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you."