Alice Austen House Museum

Alice Austen House Museum Alice Austen House keeps alive the daring spirit of early American photographer Alice Austen (1866-1952) with exhibits and programs in her historic home.
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The Alice Austen House Museum promotes public awareness and scholarly study regarding the life and work of Alice Austen (1866 - 1952). Austen was one of America's earliest and most prolific female photographers, and over the course of her life she captured about 8,000 images. Though she is best known for her documentary work, Austen was an artist with a strong aesthetic sensibility. Furthermore, she was a landscape designer, a master tennis player, and the first woman on Staten Island to own a car. She never married, and instead spent fifty years with Gertrude Tate. A rebel who broke away from the ties of her Victorian environment, Alice Austen created her own independent life. Austen lived in “Clear Comfort,” a Victorian Gothic cottage that dates back to a 1690 one-room Dutch farmhouse. The house, which is one of the oldest in New York and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973, overlooks the New York Narrows and has a stunning panoramic view of lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Verrazano Bridge. For good reasons the New York City Parks Department voted it one of the most romantic sites in New York.

Operating as usual

Today is national California day and we’re celebrating with this letter that Alice received in 1891 from Edith Eccleston...
02/22/2021

Today is national California day and we’re celebrating with this letter that Alice received in 1891 from Edith Eccleston Blunt. It reads “Pasadena Cal
Care Mrs. Deyter
Sunday Eve.
Feb. 15th
Dear Alice
I must drop you a line to / night before I close my eyes / or I shall not rest. You / will be surprised to see where / we are - Stanhope’s cold / has been harping on so / long that the Dr’s thought / a change of air the best / thing for him. Mr. Blunt / is away from home away / way in recruiting service so / I thought we might as well / see a little of southern Cal / before Trudie [?] – Mrs. / Buchanan has lost her / lovely voice, so she was delighted to join our party - / and travel with us to warmer / parts. We came down by / steamer to Santa Barbara / went all over that town / saw everything; there to / Los Angeles and took that / all in we are now right / in the same place mamma / and papa were in 1 or 2 years / ago – it is perfect that is / all I can say. When we / want oranges all one has to / do is to pick one – we sit / out in the sun all day long in / large easy chairs and do / next to nothing – we shall / stay here one month & I / do hope baby will be well / & Mrs. Buchanan also by / that time. Trudie [?] / the rest so it is just as / well for her - She went / so hard before she left / Presidio that she [?] / loudly. I started to thank / you for your good picture / it is splendid of you & / also of Papas library. I / was so glad to have it. / I must close this scrawl / now as I have been / writing all the evening / and my back is tired. /
We all send love
believe me your true friend
Edith E. Blunt”

We’ve decided because of the recent weather to make today #snowviewsunday to share one of Alice’s snow scenes  from arou...
02/21/2021

We’ve decided because of the recent weather to make today #snowviewsunday to share one of Alice’s snow scenes from around her home with you. ⠀

E. Alice Austen, [Snowy view of the lawn at Clear Comfort], ca. 1885. Collection of the Alice Austen House. ⠀

#snowscene #Snowscape #snowytrees

Today is #LoveYourPetDay and to celebrate here are some photographs from our collection of people showing some love to t...
02/20/2021

Today is #LoveYourPetDay and to celebrate here are some photographs from our collection of people showing some love to their pets.

E. Alice Austen, [Gertrude Tate and Her Cat], ca. 1930.
E. Alice Austen, [Aunt Minn in SAMAR Hat], ca. 1890.
E. Alice Austen, [Alice Austen and Punch], 1884.

Have you voted for the Alice Austen House through Target Circle? If not, there’s still time! See how you can help direct...
02/19/2021

Have you voted for the Alice Austen House through Target Circle? If not, there’s still time! See how you can help direct Target’s giving to benefit our organization and the community. For full program details and restrictions, visit https://www.target.com/circle/
#targetcircle #nonprofit

Happy #FlashbackFriday!  In February of 1922 Pope Pius XI became head of the Catholic Church. Several years later while ...
02/19/2021

Happy #FlashbackFriday! In February of 1922 Pope Pius XI became head of the Catholic Church. Several years later while traveling through Italy Alice and Gertrude had an audience with Pope Pius XI and purchased several of these 4 foot long wooden rosaries in commemoration of the trip. Alice gifted them to several people in the 1940’s including a waitress in the tea room and a next door neighbor they played bridge with.

Happy Birthday to the amazing self-described Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet, Audre Lorde. We are very thankful th...
02/18/2021

Happy Birthday to the amazing self-described Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet, Audre Lorde. We are very thankful that for our exhibit Powerful and Dangerous friends of Audre allowed us to make copies of a personal photo album commemorating their time together which includes this page from Audre’s birthday in 1991. Help us celebrate Audre’s birthday by sharing your favorite Audre Lorde quote, book, or part of our exhibit in the comments below.

You can also join us this evening for a virtual tour of the exhibition by registering at https://bcls-nj.libcal.com/event/7327711?fbclid=IwAR320rH05UYZSh8mA81L0hz_7cl-t8CQFyg5C7txkWHcvSlsbcQ9gRK87qw

This #WaybackWednesday we’re going way back to February of 1894 and this note Alice received from Lalla Morton inviting ...
02/17/2021

This #WaybackWednesday we’re going way back to February of 1894 and this note Alice received from Lalla Morton inviting her to a lecture. It reads:
Neville Place,
New Brighton S.I.
February 7th 1894
My Dear Miss Austen
I enclose you a ticket for my lecture readings and hoping you will care to take it and come believe me, very sincerely yours,
Lalla Baldwin Morton

Have you registered for this Thursday’s virtual event Frederick Law Olmsted – At Home on Staten Island: A Talk with Just...
02/16/2021
Frederick Law Olmsted – At Home on Staten Island

Have you registered for this Thursday’s virtual event Frederick Law Olmsted – At Home on Staten Island: A Talk with Justin Martin our program in partnership with the Friends of Olmsted Beil House yet? You can visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/frederick-law-olmsted-at-home-on-staten-island-tickets-139691572253?fbclid=IwAR03dpDB5wsB8u4Q4bobRKp1xPuF8oD3fulF-WsS2py9fNQZOMRSk0V9Jvw to register and to learn more about the program which will take place Feb 18, 2021 at 6:00 PM.

“Frederick Law Olmsted – At Home on Staten Island” a Talk with Justin Martin.

We’ve decided to make today #TiffanyTuesday to share with you this check Alice wrote to Tiffany & Co. in April of 1900. ...
02/16/2021

We’ve decided to make today #TiffanyTuesday to share with you this check Alice wrote to Tiffany & Co. in April of 1900. Any guess what Alice may have purchased? Share in the comments below.

Have you seen our exhibit Powerful and Dangerous: The Words and Images of Audre Lorde yet? If you haven’t don’t worry th...
02/15/2021

Have you seen our exhibit Powerful and Dangerous: The Words and Images of Audre Lorde yet? If you haven’t don’t worry there’s still time the exhibit is on view until March. To schedule a time to visit call 718-816-4506 OR EMAIL [email protected] you can also view Powerful and Dangerous online by visiting https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=xXqHmgtgvid

This #MuseumMonday we thought it would be fun to share with you this silver tea strainer that Alice picked up on a trip ...
02/15/2021

This #MuseumMonday we thought it would be fun to share with you this silver tea strainer that Alice picked up on a trip to Holland. The sails of the windmill that serves as the handle actually turn and there is a scene of a cow being milked inside the strainer bowl.

Silver Tea Strainer, Holland, Early 20th century. Gift of Victor Prevosti.

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us here at the Alice Austen House! During the summer of 1899 33-year-old Alice Austen ...
02/14/2021

Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us here at the Alice Austen House!

During the summer of 1899 33-year-old Alice Austen was on vacation with friends in the Catskills when she met a 28-year-old kindergarten and dancing instructor named Gertrude Tate and began a relationship that would last the next 53 years. Alice commemorated that first summer together in a photo album that she gifted to Gertrude which is now a treasured part of our collection. Over the next 18 years Gertrude would accompany Alice on several trips to Europe and also spend a lot of time at the Austen home on Staten Island before finally moving in in 1917. At Clear Comfort Alice was in charge of the gardens she was always working outside to make sure her garden looked beautiful and had plants no matter the season. Gertrude became in charge of the household; running the kitchen and making sure the house was running smoothly. The Exception being that right up until the end of their time in the house Alice would bring breakfast up to Gertrude’s bedroom each morning even when her arthritis protested the trip up the stairs. When they were forced to leave this home in 1945 they did not allow it to separate them; they moved into a very small apartment where they stayed until Alice became too sick for Gertrude to care for. When circumstances finally forced them to live apart Gertrude would still visit Alice as often as she could, making the long trip from Jackson Heights, Queens to Staten Island several times a week.

Unknown, Alice Austen & Gertrude Tate, Pickard’s Penny Photo Studio, Stapleton Staten Island, ca.1905. Collection of the Alice Austen House

Richard O. Cannon, [Alice Austen and Gertrude Tate], 1944. Collection of the Alice Austen House.

It’s #flashbackfriday and we’re flashing back to this note Alice received in February of 1891 it reads “Dear Miss Austen...
02/12/2021

It’s #flashbackfriday and we’re flashing back to this note Alice received in February of 1891 it reads “Dear Miss Austen
Will you lunch with me on Thursday February twenty-sixth at half after one o’clock to meet Miss Platt.
Very cordially
Orline Alexander
Arrochar s.i.
February nineteenth”

The board and staff of the Alice Austen House send our love and condolences to Betsy Douvosky's loved ones and colleague...
02/11/2021
Betsy Dubovsky, executive director of the Staten Island Foundation, has died

The board and staff of the Alice Austen House send our love and condolences to Betsy Douvosky's loved ones and colleagues. She has provided so many years of invaluable support and guidance to our museum and so many other essential community institutions. This a great loss for our community.

https://www.silive.com/news/2021/02/betsy-dubovsky-executive-director-of-the-staten-island-foundation-has-died.html

Dubovsky's entire professional life has been in service to the not-for-profit community on Staten Island.

It’s #NationalMakeAFriendDay! Alice had many friends, some from school and some she didn't meet until later but she alwa...
02/11/2021

It’s #NationalMakeAFriendDay! Alice had many friends, some from school and some she didn't meet until later but she always loved making them pose for her photographs so we thought it would be fun to celebrate make a friend day with some photographs from our collection that Alice took of her friends over the years.

E. Alice Austen, [Six People Posed on Rock], 1899.
E. Alice Austen, [Alice Austen and friends at Clear Comfort], ca. 1890.
E. Alice Austen, [Large group sitting on a porch railing], 1899.
E. Alice Austen, [Group on Tennis Grounds], 1886.

It’s #NationalUmbrellaDay so we’re celebrating with this 1899 photograph of Alice and Gertrude under a large striped tab...
02/10/2021

It’s #NationalUmbrellaDay so we’re celebrating with this 1899 photograph of Alice and Gertrude under a large striped table umbrella in the Catskills.

E. Alice Austen, [Alice and Gertrude on a Porch in the Catskills], 1899. Collection of the Alice Austen House.

Attention Artists! We'd like to share with you this opportunity from the MTA. If you'd like the chance to submit your wo...
02/09/2021

Attention Artists! We'd like to share with you this opportunity from the MTA. If you'd like the chance to submit your work to their open call for public art for several MTA stations visit http://web.mta.info/mta/aft/about/call.html to learn more.

NEW ARTIST OPPORTUNITIES - If you are interested in creating #publicart to be fabricated in mosaic for the 7 Av (F,G), Grand St & Lorimer St (L) stations in Brooklyn, or to be fabricated in metal for the Staten Island Railway New Dorp station, apply through our website! http://web.mta.info/mta/aft/about/call.html

Images: Top – Eamon Ore-Giron, “People’s Instinctive Travels: Homage to The Tribe” (2018) at the Bay Pkwy ( N ) station in Brooklyn; Bottom – Frances Gallardo, “Line to Line” (2018) at the MNR Mount Vernon 14 Ave Bridge.

It’s #takemebackTuesday and we’re taking you back to a February day in 1901 when  Alice in the middle of her project doc...
02/09/2021

It’s #takemebackTuesday and we’re taking you back to a February day in 1901 when Alice in the middle of her project documenting New York’s Quarantine facilities took this photograph of a covered dock on Swinburne Island.

E. Alice Austen, Covered dock and sunset, 1901. Collection of the Alice Austen House.

Have you RSVP’d for Frederick Law Olmsted – At Home on Staten Island: A Talk with Justin Martin our program in partnersh...
02/08/2021
Frederick Law Olmsted – At Home on Staten Island

Have you RSVP’d for Frederick Law Olmsted – At Home on Staten Island: A Talk with Justin Martin our program in partnership with the Friends of Olmsted Beil House yet? You can visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/frederick-law-olmsted-at-home-on-staten-island-tickets-139691572253 to register and to learn more about the program which will take place virtually Thursday Feb 18, 2021 at 6:00 PM.

“Frederick Law Olmsted – At Home on Staten Island” a Talk with Justin Martin.

Did you know that the Alice Austen House is participating in the Target Circle program?You can vote for us & help direct...
02/08/2021

Did you know that the Alice Austen House is participating in the Target Circle program?
You can vote for us & help direct Target’s giving to benefit us. For full program details and restrictions, visit buff.ly/2Vnhr0T
#targetcircle #nonprofit

Today is national #sendACardToAFriendDay and we are celebrating with this Duomo postcard Alice and Gertrude received fro...
02/07/2021

Today is national #sendACardToAFriendDay and we are celebrating with this Duomo postcard Alice and Gertrude received from the Erringtons in 1923 it reads "Greetings from the Erringtons / to you and Miss Tate. / So good of you to entertain Alfred / and Jean. I appreciate it so much. / Our trip from Interlaken was / most enjoyable. Weather very warm here. On to Venice Wednesday."

#OnThisDay in 1887 Charles Roome Parmele Jr. the son of Alice’s friend Alice Parmele was born. E. Alice Austen, [Charles...
02/06/2021

#OnThisDay in 1887 Charles Roome Parmele Jr. the son of Alice’s friend Alice Parmele was born.

E. Alice Austen, [Charles Roome Parmele Jr.], ca. 1887. Collection of the Alice Austen House.

We thought for the first Friday in February it would be fun to do a #fromourcollectionfriday post and share something fr...
02/05/2021

We thought for the first Friday in February it would be fun to do a #fromourcollectionfriday post and share something from our object collection we have not shared before. This is a sterling silver clip that used to belong to Alice. If you look to the right side of the clip you can see her initials E.A.A. engraved.

Today is National #ThankaMailCarrierDay and we are celebrating with this 1896 photograph Alice took of Mail carrier John...
02/04/2021

Today is National #ThankaMailCarrierDay and we are celebrating with this 1896 photograph Alice took of Mail carrier John Gallagher at a postbox at 56th Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan for her Street Types of New York project.

E. Alice Austen, Postman, 1896. Collection of the Alice Austen House.

"Achieving Landmark status for the Till-Mobley House is an important step in recognizing that Black cultural heritage si...
02/03/2021
Emmett Till childhood home now an official city landmark

"Achieving Landmark status for the Till-Mobley House is an important step in recognizing that Black cultural heritage sites long overlooked by the city are a vital part of Chicago's past, present and future," said founder and CEO Naomi Davis

https://chicago.suntimes.com/city-hall/2021/1/27/22252911/chicago-city-council-approves-landmark-status-emmett-till-home-south-side

The Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley House in West Woodlawn became an official Chicago landmark after an expedited City Council vote Wednesday. It culminates years-long efforts to landmark the home of the teen whose 1955 lynching sparked the Civil Rights Movement.

Today is the 35th annual #NationalGirlsandWomeninSportsDay! Alice and her friends loved a number of different sports fro...
02/03/2021

Today is the 35th annual #NationalGirlsandWomeninSportsDay! Alice and her friends loved a number of different sports from bicycling to tennis to croquet so today on girls and women in sports day we are celebrating with these photographs Alice took from different sporting events.

E. Alice Austen, [Croquet Group], ca. 1895
E. Alice Austen, [Women's tennis Match], ca. 1895.
E. Alice Austen, [Large Group with Bicycles], ca. 1895

Registration for Fredrick Law Olmsted: At Home on Staten Island a talk with Justin Martin our event on Thursday February...
02/02/2021
Frederick Law Olmsted – At Home on Staten Island

Registration for Fredrick Law Olmsted: At Home on Staten Island a talk with Justin Martin our event on Thursday February 18th at 6 PM with the Friends of Olmsted Beil House is now open! Olmsted spent a handful of years as a Staten Island farmer. But that’s merely one chapter in the life of a man who was, among other things, a journalist, abolitionist, and pioneering landscape architect. Olmsted followed his own idiosyncratic path to greatness. In his speech, Martin will connect the disparate pieces of Olmsted’s life, showing how his Staten Island interlude (1848-1855) was crucial to his assorted endeavors, most particularly his masterpiece, Central Park.
Justin Martin’s specialty is American history, meticulously researched, but delivered in a narrative style that’s akin to fiction. He’s the author of five critically acclaimed books including Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted. His other titles have covered topics ranging from America’s first Bohemian artists to Antietam, a pivotal Civil War battle.

Martin’s articles have appeared in publications across the country including the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and Lawrence (KS) Journal World. Martin is a 1987 graduate of Rice University in Houston, Texas. He lives with his wife and twin sons in Forest Hills Gardens, a landmark NYC neighborhood designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.

To register for the event and for more details visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/frederick-law-olmsted-at-home-on-staten-island-tickets-139691572253

“Frederick Law Olmsted – At Home on Staten Island” a Talk with Justin Martin.

It’s #TakemeBackTuesday and because of our current snowy weather we're taking you back to this photograph Alice took in ...
02/02/2021

It’s #TakemeBackTuesday and because of our current snowy weather we're taking you back to this photograph Alice took in 1896 of a street cleaner shoveling snow. Did you know that back in the day because of their white uniforms street cleaners were known as “white wings?”

E. Alice Austen, Street Cleaner, 1896. Collection of the Alice Austen House.

Happy February everyone! We hope you are all enjoying the lovely snowy views we awoke to this morning. However if you li...
02/01/2021

Happy February everyone! We hope you are all enjoying the lovely snowy views we awoke to this morning. However if you live somewhere that did not get all the snow that New York did here is a photograph Alice took in the early 1900's of her backyard after a snowstorm.

E. Alice Austen, [Clear Comfort backyard after snowstorm], ca. 1905.

It’s backwards Day so we are celebrating by sharing the back of this 1890 photograph before the front instead of sharing...
01/31/2021

It’s backwards Day so we are celebrating by sharing the back of this 1890 photograph before the front instead of sharing the picture side first like we would normally do. This photograph of John Emmons and his son Kintzing titled “Ready to Start” has Alice’s information written on the back of it for entry into a photo contest.
E. Alice Austen, Ready to Start, 1890. Collection of the Alice Austen House.

Today is National #SeedSwapDay and as a founding member of the Staten Island Garden Club we think Alice would have loved...
01/30/2021

Today is National #SeedSwapDay and as a founding member of the Staten Island Garden Club we think Alice would have loved a holiday where you give seeds from your favorite plant to your friends and family.

E. Alice Austen, Plants in Backyard, 1920. Collection of the Alice Austen House.

Today is #flashbackfriday and we’re flashing back to this invitation sent to Alice’s grandparents in January of 1885 for...
01/29/2021

Today is #flashbackfriday and we’re flashing back to this invitation sent to Alice’s grandparents in January of 1885 for a wedding.

It hasn't looked very wintery so far this season so this #ThrowbackThursday we decided to throw it back to a winter when...
01/28/2021

It hasn't looked very wintery so far this season so this #ThrowbackThursday we decided to throw it back to a winter when the grounds of Clear Comfort were covered in snow and Alice took this picture.

E. Alice Austen, [House after heavy snowfall], ca. 1925. Collection of the Alice Austen House.

Address

2 Hylan Blvd
Staten Island, NY
10305

From Manhattan by Staten Island Ferry Subway to South Ferry (1), Whitehall Street (N/R), or Bowling Green Station (4/5) or bus or taxi to: Staten Island Ferry (25 minute ride). At the ferry terminal in Staten Island #S51 Bus to Hylan Boulevard (15 minute ride). Walk one block east to water and house From Manhattan via Brooklyn by car From the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (toll) or the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridge take the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge to Staten Island (right lane on bridge). Take the first exit (after toll), "Bay Street". Continue to the end of street (School Road) then turn left onto Bay Street. Continue to Hylan Boulevard then turn right and follow street to water and house. From New Jersey toll bridges From the Outerbridge Crossing, Goethals or Bayonne Bridge follow signs to Route 278 East. Exit at "Clove Rd./Richmond Rd./Hylan Blvd." Continue on service road (Narrows Road South). Just before the fifth traffic light turn left onto Hylan Boulevard and continue to water and house.

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