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Alice Austen House - national historic lendmark           Alice Austen House Donate

Address & Phone Website Directions Hours Tours

2 Hylan Boulevard
Staten Island
NY • 10305
(718) 816-4506
Fax (718) 815-3959

www.aliceausten.org From Manhattan via Brooklyn by car From the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel (toll) or the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridge take the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway to the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge to Staten Island (right lane on bridge). Take the first exit (after toll), "Bay Street". Continue to the end of street (School Road) then turn left onto Bay Street. Continue to Hylan Boulevard then turn right and follow street to water and house. The house is open all year (except January, February and major holidays). Thursday through Sunday 11:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M. The grounds are open every day until dusk. To enhance the enjoyment of your visit, a friendly guide will greet you and answer questions. Tours for groups and school class programs are available by appointment.


About Alice Austen.

Alice Austen was introduced to photography when she was 10 years old by her Uncle Oswald, who brought home an early-model dry plate camera from one of his many trips abroad. Alice showed Alice Austenimmediate and natural ability. Through experimentation she taught herself how to operate the complex camera mechanism, judge exposure, develop the heavy glass plates, and make prints. By the time she was 18 in 1884, she was not only technically skilled but artistically accomplished as well.

Alice was active, social, and well traveled. Everywhere she went, she took her camera equipment, which sometimes weighed as much as fifty pounds and often filled a steamer trunk. As a result of her desire to photograph so much of her life and the world around her, her range of subjects was extensive. In her lifetime, she created images on approximately 8,000 glass plates, of which more than 3,000 survive.

Alice remained an amateur photographer at heart, though she sold some of her work. She took pictures for the love of it-and so she had more freedom to express herself than professional Victorian women photographers. Her straightforward style anticipated documentary photography. At the same time, she used composition, pose, costuming, and satire to convey her point of view.Alice Austen House - national historic lendmark

About the house.

Clear Comfort (a.k.a. The Alice Austen House) was built in 1690. In 1844 it was purchased by JohnPhoto courtesy of the Staten Island Historical Society Haggerty Austen, Alice Austen's grandfather. Alice Austen herself moved there as a young girl in the late1860's with her mother, Alice Cornell Austen, after the two were abandoned by Alice's father. She went on to spend most of her life there, until financial problems and illness forced her to move in 1945. In her absence, the house fell into disrepair until a group of concerned citizens saved it from demolition in the 1960's. The house successfully gained status as a historic landmark, and was restored in the mid 1980's. It currently serves as a museum of Alice Austen's life and times.




Alice Austen House map


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