HNY Lecture Series // My Dear Alice, The Alice Austen Letter Collection
n 2020, artist, researcher and author Pamela Bannos (author of Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife) began sharing her research with Alice Austen House Executive Director Victoria Munro to launch a journey into Austen’s world. Starting with Austen’s photographic cannon, Bannos’ circle of research expanded to uncover new discoveries through leads found in the entirety of Austen’s letter collection and her wide circle of friends. Bannos created an extensive family and friend tree for Austen that crosses the US and continually investigates new leads. Bannos is in the final stages of producing the 10 episode podcast My Dear Alice which will expand our understanding of the rich world of Austen, her friends, her travels, loves and photographs.
Bannos’ podcast series My Dear Alice is based on hundreds of letters that were returned to the Alice Austen House Museum 40 years after they were found in a closet by the family that had moved in after Austen was evicted in 1945. Dating from 1883 to 1898, they chronicle Austen’s life from age 17 through 32, during the time she made the photographic works that she is best known for. The letters taper off as she meets Gertrude Tate, the woman with whom she will spend the rest of her life. Artist and author Pamela Bannos wrote and narrates the series, filling in Austen’s biography and photo practice, tying together the chronology. The project is in collaboration with the Alice Austen House Museum.
Learn more about the My Dear Alice podcast series here and revisit the archived livestream:
Pamela Bannos is an artist and researcher who utilizes methods that highlight the forgotten and overlooked, exploring the links between visual representation, urban space, history, and collective memory. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife and is professor of photography at Northwestern University’s Department of Art Theory and Practice.
Victoria Munro is the Executive Director of the Alice Austen House, a nationally designated site of LGBTQ+ history and the only museum in America to represent the work of one woman photographer, Alice Austen. Victoria is an Art and Art History Educator, Maker and Photographic Curator. Munro consults and speaks on LGBTQ+ curriculum development, historical and current LGBTQ+ interpretations in public and private institutions. Munro is the Board President of the Museums Council of New York City and serves on the Executive Board of Historic Artists Homes and Studios.