At the request of lawyer and Ellis Island Commissioner Norman Liss
, the library in the Great Hall at Ellis Island has been named after Bob Hope
, who came to America from England in 1908
, at the age of 4. There`s a story about it in the New Yorker—Remembering Bob Hope With A Library
, October 25, 2010 [Subscriber link
New Yorker staffer Mark Singer
"Had Hope been less beloved, it would be easier to understand the difficulties that Representative Eliot Engel (D-Bronx, Westchester, Rockland) encountered when, in response to a request in 2005 from Norman Liss, a constituent and the chairman of the Ellis Island Restoration Commission,Â he sponsored legislation to have the research library named for Hope. `It took us five years and stretched across two Congresses to get it done, and the National Park Service fought us every step of the way, Engel said. `Who knows why, God bless â€?em.` (Why, according to 2007 Senate testimony by the deputy director of the Park Service: `Bob Hope did enter the United States through Ellis Islandâ€¦ however there is no compelling connection between his life and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.`)"
It`s obvious what the problem is. Hope was an Englishman from Eltham
, near London. Ellis Island
immigration is credited with
, (or blamed for) "transforming"
How much transformation could White Anglo-Saxon Protestant immigrants like Hope cause?
Update: Reader Roger Chaillet points out that at the time of his death, Hope was a White Anglo-Saxon Catholic
Seven years ago, after nearly six decades of marriage to an active Roman Catholic, Bob Hope was received into the Catholic Church, and became a frequent communicant. His funeral Mass was celebrated on July 30 at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in North Hollywood, and on Sunday, August 3, he was remembered at a memorial Mass celebrated by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C. at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Of course that was after 93 years as a Protestant. However, what I meant by WASP was more of a national characteristic
than a religious one—Hope was a WASP Catholic after his conversion, the same as Alan Watts
and Christmas Humphreys
were WASP Buddhists. The immigration point remains the same.