Within the rigid confines of Staten Island high society, Alice Austen was fiercely independent. As a young woman, she was a perfectionistic competitor, pursuing tennis and photography with passion. In her thirties, she met Gertrude Tate, the love of her life and her partner for the next fifty years. But Alice was no rebel. Her other great love was her family’s home, a relic of a bygone Victorian era, and she assumed the prerogatives and prejudices of upper-class culture. Her story reveals the tides of change that intrigued and ultimately overwhelmed her. Her photographs provide a window into a lost world.
Learn more about Austen’s extraordinary life in the Gotham Center for New York City History’s virtual exhibit, Alice Austen and Staten Island’s Gilded Age: A Biography in Photographs by Bonnie Yochelson.