A panoramic view of the Lower Bay and Verrazano Narrows from the Alice Austen House Museum.
Austen's photos from the 1880's
|view from the front yard|
|same view different era|
|the front veranda|
|view from the front door|
|Manhattan skyline to the north|
|Verrazano Bridge and Brooklyn to the south|
Austen was one of America’s earliest and most prolific female photographers. Starting at age 10, she learned how to use a dry-plate camera brought from abroad by her uncle. Her first subjects were the people and places closest to her -- her family and friends, her house and garden -- she also made many early self-portraits using a long cable release to trip the shutter.
|Alice and friends on the front lawn|
|self portrait on the veranda age 26|
|front hall & parlor recreated|
|the original parlor|
Photos from the Historic American Buildings Survey prior to renovation of the upper floor and basement which are not open to the public
Carrying up to 50 pounds of cameras and equipment throughout her travels, Austen created some 8,000 images, more than 3,000 of these images survive today.
Samples of Austen's NYC photos from the 1890's
|double decker bus|
Though she is best known for her photography work, she was also a landscape designer, master tennis player, bicycle enthusiast, and the first woman on Staten Island to own a car. She never married, but spent over fifty years with Gertrude (Trude) Tate. Living the "larky life" as she called it; she broke away from her Victorian environment and created her own independent existence.
|"Trude and I masked, in short skirts" and smoking! (1891)|
Alice and Trude on the left and below in a Life Magazine feature from 1951 after Austen and her photographs were saved from obscurity.
archive photos Alice Austen & Life Magazine
color photos copyright nycedges 2011
and shout out to The S.I. Historical Society for saving this photographic legacy