Alice Austen

The Cocroft Children in the Trees

Tuesday November 2, 1886. 1.30 pm.

Mrs. Cocroft did housework for Grandmother Austen, while her husband was in the service at Fort Wadsworth.  Their ten offspring is in christening robes.

"The Cocroft children in the trees.  Fine warm day. 1.30 p.m., Tues., Nov. 2, 1886.  Cramer, Stop 2, Instantaneous."

Alice Austen has said of the Cocroft children: "They just happened one after the other". These are the ten Crocroft children with their mother. " They were plain people, you know." Alice posed them in this fanciful way in a branching sumac tree on the hill of the Austen place.

Mentioned in Revolt pages 26-27,"Alice spoke for all the centuries before birth control, since the large family was, of course, not peculiar to the nineteenth century, and seems unusual only to our generation. Woman's duty to her children, as a result, overshadowed both the other main secular interests in life-- her husband and her household-- and was not made any simpler by the privileged role the child has always occupied in American life. For as one European traveler after another has commented, no country in the world makes so much of its children, dresses them so expensively, sacrifices so much to feed, educate and amuse them, and, quite often, spoils them so atrociously." The Cocroft children were born close togther as nature would permit.

Collection of Staten Island Historic Society