The Alice Austen House 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.