Introducing My Dear Alice

The Alice Austen House and Pamela Bannos are thrilled to announce the release of the new podcast series My Dear Alice in late September 2022.

producer Pamela Bannos

In 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.

In collaboration with the Alice Austen House, Bannos has created a beautiful companion website to the podcast series. The website will provide galleries of images to accompany each episode with additional information and full podcast transcripts.

We will be sending weekly updates on the progress of the podcast release and its weekly episodes.

Learn more about Bannos and her work here.

This will be a wonderful introduction to the Alice Austen letter collection that we have been working so intensely with over the past few years.

With the support of the New York State Archive Documentary Heritage Program, our Director of Operations and Collections, Kristine Allegretti has been creating a new finding aid for the letters which we are beginning to make available online via our website.

Kristine has also been busy scanning the collection thanks to the National Parks Service Saving America’s Treasures grant and we have provided a glimpse of these beautiful images here.

The podcast will shine a new light on the Alice Austen House letter collection and provide meaningful context to its contents and the fascinating array of authors who feature Austen's lively circle of friends. Pamela's years-long research into Austen's life and work is so critical for the preservation and truthful narration of Austen's life and work.

—Victoria Munro, Executive Director of the Alice Austen House