Category: 1800s

SEPTEMBER 5: Sarah E. Edmonds (1841-1898)

Historians speculate that over 400 women served in the American Civil War under male disguises. One of those women soldiers and an important “aspect of queer existence in Nineteenth Century America,” Sarah E. Edmonds, passed away on this
day in 1898.

An undated photograph shows Sarah’s appearance as her alter ego, “Franklin Thompson” (x).

Sarah Emma Edmonds
was born in December of 1841 in New Brunswick, Canada. At the time of her birth, New Brunswick was still an English colony. Despite growing up in a relatively happy home where she
worked on the family farm along with her sisters, Sarah ran away at
the age of 15 to avoid an unwanted marriage. Her mother was also a victim
of an early marriage forced by her parents, and so Mrs. Edmonds helped her
daughter adopt the disguise of a man and flee New Brunswick. Having adopted the
name Franklin Thompson, Sarah crossed the U.S. border and found herself working
as a bookseller in Hartford, Connecticut.

After the
breakout of the Civil War, Sarah enlisted in Company F of the 2nd Michigan
Infantry – also known as the Flint Union Greys – under the guise of Franklin
Flint Thompson. Scholars have theorized that
the middle name Flint was chosen based on the fact that she had previously
been volunteering for the Union Army in Flint, Michigan. Sarah eventually
worked her way up from male field nurse to Union spy after her close friend,
the spy James Vesey, was assassinated and Sarah volunteered to fill his spot. Her
masterful skills of disguise came in handy during her spy career, claiming in
her memoir that she frequently went undercover as both men and women.

After
contracting a deadly case of malaria, Sarah was forced to give up her life as
Franklin Thompson. Fearful that her true identity would be discovered if she went to a
military hospital, she fled from her military duty and checked herself into a civilian
hospital. Although she intended to return to her Company once she was cured,
she was forced to leave the army for good once she noticed posters declaring
Franklin Thompson as a deserter and a wanted man. Instead, Sarah decided to
serve as a female nurse in Washington D.C. for the remainder of the war.

This illustration depicts a story Sarah tells in her memoir about comforting a fellow Union soldier on the battlefield, only to have the soldier confess that he was truly a woman in disguise! Sarah never reveals the deceased soldier’s name, but writes that she personally made sure they were buried near their brother under a mulberry tree and that she ensured their secret was never discovered (x).

Sarah later
married a Canadian mechanic and old childhood friend by the name of Linnus H.
Seelye. The two lived happily and ended up adopting two sons after their own three children
died young. However, in her bestselling memoir, Sarah recounts having had a
relationship with a woman during her pre-war years as Franklin Thompson.
Sarah writes that she “came near marrying a pretty little girl” while living as a “famous” bookseller in Connecticut and then later Nova Scotia.  

It would be impossible to attempt to
label Sarah E. Edmonds under contemporary understandings of gender and sexuality. Still, she stands as a landmark figure in the long and rich history of female
cross-dressers, many of whom enjoyed relationships with other women. The historian Lillian Faderman recounts these women’s place in lesbian history in
her book Odd Girls & Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life.

-LC

SEPTEMBER 3: Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909)

Born on this
day in 1849, Sarah Orne Jewett was a lesbian writer most well-known for her
poems and short stories that richly captured life on the coast of Maine.

Sarah Orne Jewett photographed in 1875 (x).

Sarah Orne
Jewett was born to a wealthy New England family in South Berwick, Maine on
September 3, 1849. Her father was a doctor who specialized in “diseases of
women and children.” Sarah was very close to her father and often joined him on
his house calls throughout her hometown. She contracted rheumatoid arthritis at
an early age, for which her father prescribed long walks. These walks planted a
love for nature and an imaginative spirit in Sarah. She was educated at Miss
Olive Rayne’s School and then later at Berwick Academy, but she discovered her
love of books by spending many hours in the library of Hamilton House, her family’s home.

She first leaped onto the literary scene at age 19 when one of her stories was published in the
Atlantic Monthly
. Throughout the 1870s and 1880s, she became famous for her representation
of country life and, as Willa Cather described, her “rich accounts of women’s
lives and voices.” Sarah’s most popular works are the novella The Country of
the Pointed Firs
(1896), the novel A Country Doctor (1884), and a collection of
poetry titled A White Heron (1886).

Portrait of Emily Davis Tyson and Sarah Orne Jewett standing in the doorway of Hamilton House, Sarah’s family home in South Berwick, Maine (x).

Sarah never
married in her lifetime and her life partner was a fellow writer named Annie
Adams Fields. Sarah first met Annie through her husband, James Thomas Fields,
who was the co-owner of the publishing house Ticknor and Fields. After James’s
death in 1881, Annie moved in with Sarah and the two would be together for the
rest of their lives. The relationship, now understood to be a lesbian partnership,
would have been called a “Boston marriage” or “romantic friendship” in the late
Nineteenth Century. Their shared home in Boston became somewhat of a literary
salon, hosting many popular writers who Sarah and Annie had
befriended. Throughout their life together, Sarah and Annie also frequently
traveled to Europe where they networked with writers such as William Thackeray
and Mary Cowden Clarke.

Annie Adams Fields and Sarah Orne Jewett’s portraits edited to show the true nature of their romantic relationship (x). 

On September 3,
1902 – her 53rd birthday – Sarah was injured in a serious carriage accident.
The injuries she sustained virtually ended her writing career
and set Sarah on a path of failing health. In March of 1909, she suffered a stroke
that left her paralyzed. After suffering a second stroke in June of that year,
she would die on June 24, 1909 in her and Annie’s home in South Berwick, the
town of her birth and the inspiration of so many of her literary tales.
Following her death, Annie published a collected titled Letters of Sarah Orne
Jewett.
However, after pressure from their close friend and editor Mark Anthony
Howe, several passages indicating the romantic and sexual aspect of Sarah and Annie’s
relationship were taken out of the collection.

-LC

DECEMBER 13: Lucía Sánchez Saornil (1895-1970)

The Spanish poet and anarchist, Lucía Sánchez Saornil, was born on this day in 1895.
She is most well-known for her lesbian themed poetry and for being one of the
founders of the feminist group Mujeres Libres.

An older Lucía photographed some time in the 1940s (x).

Lucía was
born on December 13, 1895 in Valencia, Spain. Her mother passed away not long
after her birth and she was raised by an impoverished single father. Lucía’s experiences
growing up poor would eventually become a defining factor in her political
identity. She began writing poetry at an early age and was able to receive a
scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando. By 1919,
she had been published in premier literary journals such as Los Quijotes,
Tableros, Plural, Manantial and La Gaceta Literaria under a male pen name. By
using a false name, Lucía was able to publish her love poems about women
without fear of being caught by censors and imprisoned.

Despite her literary success, Lucía
still found herself having to work as a telephone operator in order to make a
living. In 1931, she participated in a strike along with the
anarcho-syndicalist labor union, Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT),
against Telefónica. After that inciting incident, she would dedicate her life
to labor activism and fighting for anarchist social revolution. By 1933, she
had been appointed as the Writing Secretary for CNT’s branch in Madrid.

Towards the end of her life, Lucía
began publishing her writing in anarchist-based journals as well as criticizing
the anarchist movement for being so male-centered. Along with Mercedes
Comaposada and Amparo Poch y Gascón, she founded the anarchist feminist organization
Mujeres Libres in 1936. After the break out of the Spanish Civil War, the
organization’s roster grew to 30,000 members. It was while working for Mujeres
Libres
that Lucía met the love of her life, América Barroso.

Due to the defeat of the Second
Republic in the Spanish Civil War, Lucía and América were
forced to relocate to Paris. However, they would return to live in Madrid in
1941 due to the carnage of World War II. The true nature of their relationship
remained a secret, but they lived together for the rest of their lives – América
working as an official at the Argentine consul and Lucía continuing her work as
a anarchist activism and a literary editor. Lucía would pass away on June 2, 1970.  

-LC

DECEMBER 10: Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

The renowned American poet Emily
Dickinson was born on this day in 1830. Famous partly for her reclusive tendencies
and intensely private life, many scholars have begun to speculate on the
possibility that Emily may have been a lesbian.

The only authenticated photograph of Emily Dickinson was taken in 1847 when she was 16-years-old (x).

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was born
on December 10, 1850 in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her father, Edward Dickinson,
was a prominent lawyer in the town and the Dickinson family was very well-known
and respected family in their community, although they were not very wealthy. Emily
had a tempestuous relationship with her mother, but always maintained a warm relationship
with her father. Edward prided himself on his children’s education and kept his
daughters in school longer than most girls would have been afforded in the
Victorian era.

Between the time Emily was 18 and
20, the town of Amherst experienced the deaths of two prominent figures in the community
–  Benjamin Franklin Newton, a young
attorney who had become a close friend of the Dickinson family, and Leonard
Humphrey, the principal of The Amherst Academy principal. It is often believed
that the grief from those two deaths is what kick started Emily’s lifelong
battle with depression and agoraphobia. It was in the safety of her parents’
home where Emily wrote herself in the history books; the year 1860 would prove
to be Emily’s most productive writing period, with several of her poems being
published in The Springfield Republican
newspaper.  

Emily’s closest and most
affectionate relationship throughout her life was with her sister in-law Susan
Gilbert. She wrote over 300 letters to Susan, which is more than she sent to
any other of her correspondents. Susan played a crucial role in Emily’s
editorial process and was known as her “most beloved friend, influence, muse,
and adviser.” In recent years, many historians have asserted that Emily’s relationship
with Susan was undeniably romantic. In a June 1852 letter, Emily writes:

I have
but one thought, Susie, this afternoon of June, and that of you, and I have one
prayer, only; dear Susie, that is for you. That you and I in hand as we e’en do
in heart, might ramble away as children, among the woods and fields, and forget
these many years, and these sorrowing cares, and each become a child again — I
would it were so, Susie, and when I look around me and find myself alone, I
sigh for you again; little sigh, and vain sigh, which will not bring you home. I
need you more and more, and the great world grows wider, and dear ones fewer
and fewer, every day that you stay away — I miss my biggest heart; my own goes
wandering round, and calls for Susie.

The 1880s brought even more death
to the Dickinson family, with Emily’s father, mother, and her youngest nephew all
passing away. The grief was too much for the aging poet to bear and it set her
on a physical and emotional downward spiral that would eventual result in her death.
In 1884, Emily wrote, “The Dyings have been too deep for me, and before I could
raise my Heart from one, another has come.” She would pass away on May 15, 1886
at the age of 55. The official cause of death by her physician was Bright’s
disease.’

-LC

DECEMBER 7: Willa Cather (1873-1942)

The Pulitzer Prize winning writer, Willa Cather, was born on this day in 1873. Although there has been much push back by historians who claim that labeling Willa as a lesbian is anachronistic, it is undeniable that she often chose to present herself in masculine clothing and enjoyed romantic relationships with only women throughout her life. 

Willa Cather photographed circa 1912 (x).

Wilella Sibert Cather was born on December 7, 1873 in Back Creek Valley near Winchester, Virginia. Her mother was a local school teacher while her father worked the land of the valley which had been in his family for six generations. When tuberculosis came to Winchester, the Cathers packed up and moved to Red Cloud, Nebraska in order to save themselves and 9-year-old Willa from the illness. It was in Nebraska where Willa became enchanted by the western landscape and discovered her passion for writing. Some of her earliest writings were published in the local newspaper, Red Cloud Chief, and eventually became a regular contributor to the Nebraska State Journal during her college days at the University of Nebraska. 

It was at the University of Nebraska in the 1890s when Willa’s lesbian identity began to take shape. She often went by the more masculine nickname of William and wore traditionally masculine clothing. The caption of a photo of Willa in the University’s archives describes her as having “her hair shingled, at a time when females wore their hair fashionably long.” After college, Willa city-hopped – first to Pittsburgh and then to New York City – and found work as a writer for various magazines and as a high school English teacher. She would pave the way for her own literary canonization during the 1910s and 1920s with works such as My Ántonia, O Pioneers!, and The Song of the Lark. Her very first big success was Alexander’s Bridge, a novel that was serialized in the magazine McClure’s in 1913. By 1922, Willa had been granted the Pulitzer Prize for her novel One of Ours

Willa Cather (right) with her partner Edith Lewis in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, 1926. Out of all the letters the two must have written to each other throughout their 40 year relationship, only one survives; read it here

Throughout her life, Willa had multiple relationships with women. Beginning with her college friend Louise Pound, her other romantic entanglements included the Pittsburgh socialite Isabelle McClung, the opera singer Olive Fremstad, and the pianist Yaltah Menuhin. It was the literary editor Edith Lewis, however, who she spent the last 40 years of her life with. The two lived together in New York City and spent their summers at a shared cottage on the island of Grand Manan in New Brunswick, Canada. When Willa passed away from a cerebral hemorrhage on April 24, 1947, it was Edith who burned the unfinished manuscript of her final novel, which Willa had deemed unworthy and had instructed to be destroyed at the time of her death. When Edith herself passed away in 1972, she was buried next to Willa in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

-LC

NOVEMBER 29: Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)

The acclaimed author and poet most
well-known for her novel Little Women,
Louisa May Alcott, was born on this day in 1832. Although Louisa never
explicitly stated her sexuality, there has long been scholarship speculating on
her being a lesbian.

A 1865 head shot of author Louisa May Alcott (x).

Louisa May Alcott was born on
November 29, 1832 in Germantown, Pennsylvania and was the second of 4
daughters. Her mother, Abby May, worked as a social worker and her father Amos
Alcott, was an educator and a staunch transcendentalist. The family moved to
Boston in 1834 so that Amos could join the Transcendentalist Club and be among
the likes of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Financial
difficulties would force the family to move once more to Concord, Massachusetts
in 1840. It was there where Louisa left school and began working as a
seamstress and a governess in order to help support the family, as well as
where the Alcotts opened up their home as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

At the outbreak of the American
Civil War, Louisa served as a nurse in a Union Hospital in Georgetown. This
resulted in her first taste of literary success with Hospital Sketches, a collection of the letters she wrote home
during her time as a nurse that was eventually published in Commonwealth, an abolitionist newspaper
based in Boston. For many years after, she became a popular pulp novelist under
the pen name A.M. Barnard. Her legacy was made in 1868 when the first part of
the Little Women series was published. Good Wives, Little Men, and Jo’s Boys would eventually follow, cementing
the “March Family Saga.”

An original cover spread of Little Women as it was published in 1868 (x).

The lesbian-coding of the
character Jo from Little Women
and its subsequent series has often been a piece
of evidence scholars point to in arguing Louisa’s own lesbianism. Beyond that,
though, she also never married and was once quoted as
saying, “I am more than half-persuaded that I am a man’s soul put by some freak
of nature into a woman’s body…because I have fallen in love with so many
pretty girls and never once the least bit with any man.” She also proudly proclaimed
herself as living a life of “spinsterhood.” In her later years, Louisa took in
her sister’s daughter – also named Louisa, but nicknamed Lulu

and raised her
to adulthood after her sister passed away from childbed fever in 1879.

Louisa herself passed away on March 6,
1888 at the age 55. She had long been suffering from health problems such as
vertigo and lupus, but her final cause of death was a stroke. She is buried in
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts in an area known as “author’s
hill.” Throughout her life, she published over 30 writings and is now known as
one of the leading feminist American writers of the 19th century.

-LC

NOVEMBER 26: Mathilde Blind (1841-1896)

Renowned writer and leader
of the New Women, Mathilde Blind, passed away on this day in 1896. She is most
well-known for her pioneering feminist literature such as the poem The Ascent of Man, written as a woman’s response to
Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Mathilde Blind photographed circa 1870 (x).

Mathilde Blind was born on March 21,
1841 in Mannheim, Germany. Her father was a banker named Jacob Abraham Cohen and
she was his oldest child of three. After her father died in 1848 and her mother
remarried the famous political writer Karl Blind, Mathilde and her brothers
changed their surname to Blind. The family moved to London around this
same time and Mathilde began attending St. John’s Wood Ladies’ Institute.
Throughout her adolescence, her mother adn stepfather kept the company of leftist
revolutionaries such as Karl Marx and Louis Blanc, and therefore, Mathilde herself
began to develop a radical political perspective from an early age.

At the beginning of her literary
career, Mathilde used a male pseudonym, but she abandoned it for her real name
in the 1870s. It was this act that launched her to feminist icon status and made
her one of the premier figures of London’s bohemian literary scene. She wrote
over 15 texts throughout her lifetime; her only fiction novel was a romance titled Tarantula that saw little success, while her masterwork is largely considered to be the 1889
poem The Ascent of Man. The majority of Mathilde’s work dealt
with the Victorian gender system and took on a feminist slant. 

She never
married during her lifetime and often publicly criticized the institution of
marriage. It is common belief that Mathilde was a lesbian due to her
prioritization of women in her life and her association with many lesbian figures
of her day such as Olive Schreiner and Violet Paget. She lived with the famous painter Ford Madox
Brown for over 20 years until his wife Emma’s death and it is often believed
that Mathilde and Emma were romantically involved. Mathilde Blind would eventually away on
November 26, 1896 from uterine cancer. Her property was given to Newnham
College, Cambridge per her request and she left the English literary world with
a lifetime of progressive writings and political work.

-LC

OCTOBER 28: Anna Elizabeth Dickinson (1842-1932)

The American orator and social activist, Anna Elizabeth Dickinson, was
born on this day in 1842. Today, she is most well-known as being the very first
woman to ever give a political address before the United State Congress.

image

Anna photographed by Mathew Brady sometime between 1855 and 1865 (x).

Anna Elizabeth Dickinson was born
on October 28, 1842 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to a family of Quakers. The
members of her family were highly religious and staunchly abolitionist,
instilling in her values of equality from an early age. The Dickinson family
home was a stop on the Underground Railroad until her father died in 1844 and
the family was thrust into hard financial times. Anna’s mother, Mary, opened a
small school in their home and began taking in tenants in order to keep the
family afloat. Anna herself was educated at Friends Select School and Westtown
School.

Anna’s first article was published
in William Lloyd Garrison’s famous abolitionist newspaper The Liberator when she was only 14-years-old. As a young adult, she
found work as a copyist and then as a teacher. She was also among the United
States Mint’s first woman employees. Her career as a lecturer came about from
her active position in the Methodist Church, which she had converted to as an adult. In the
1860s, she began touring the country to give speeches on everything from abolition,
to reconstruction, women’s rights, and temperance. She was often dubbed “The
Girl Orator” or “the Civil War’s Joan of Arc.” An avid writer as well, she also
wrote over 8 books and plays during her lifetime.  

After the Civil War, Anna’s career
as public speaker continued to flourish. She became even more entrenched in
politics and found friendships with the premier suffragists of the day such as
Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony. She never married
and has been interpreted by several historians as having been a lesbian. Her particularly
close friendship with Susan B. Anthony has come under speculation for its
possibly romantic undertones; Anna’s nickname for Susan, as she addressed her
in all their letters, was “Chickie Dickie.” Although the true identity of the
other woman is unknown, Anna also had an undeniable romantic correspondence with
a woman name Ida for a portion of her life.

After being wrongfully committed
to an insane asylum by her sister, Anna filed and won a law suit against both
her sister and the newspapers who published the story in 1898. In her later years, Anna
lived with her lover Sallie Ackerly and Sallie’s husband George. She eventually
passed away due to cerebral apoplexy on October 22, 1932. Her grave lies near
Sallie Ackerly’s at Slate Hill Cemetery in Goshen, New York.

-LC

OCTOBER 10: Ella Overbeck (1890-1919)

The Russian composer Ella Overbeck was born on this day some time between 1870 and 1895. The oft-forgotten, yet accomplished musician was known in her time for her “manly” way of dress and her not-so-secretive relationship with other women.

Ella Overbeck photographed, date unknown (x).

Agnes Elizabeth Overbeck was born on October 10 in either 1870 or 1875 – sources differ on the exact year. She was born in Düsseldorfer Stadtkreis, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany to Russian parents, but eventually moved to England with her family as a young child. Her parents died not long after the move and Ella, as she was called, was adopted by a wealthy English woman. Her adoptive mother paid for her to be educated at the prestigious Royal College of Music. She started to gain notoriety in 1894 for her composition of the music for an adaptation of the play No Trifling With Love at Uxbridge Town Hall, but she was even more well known in polite society for her rather “unpolite” relationship with the socialite Edith Craig.

Edith Craig was the sister of Gordan Craig, the playwright who worked in collaboration with Ella for multiple productions and it is suspected that it was through Edith who introduced the two artists to each other. In her biography of the Edith and Gordon’s mother, author Nina Auerbach refers to Ella as “Edy’s [Edith’s nickname] cross-dressing friend, the Baronness ‘Jimmy’ Overbeck.” Although Ella continued to compose well-reviewed violin sonatas and other music throughout her career, once again, the public’s attention continued to be focused on her various lovers.

After Edith came the Russian poet Zinaida Gippius. Zinaida publicly wrote about her bisexuality and her identity as an androgynous woman, so her relationship with Ella was practically ready-made scandal. In her memoirs, Zinaida writes of meeting Ella for the first time in the summer of the late 1890s in the island of Taormina with the passage: “Taormina, Taormina, white and blue town of the most humorous of all loves – homosexuality! I am speaking, of course, about its external form. It is equally good and natural for each person to love any other person.” Ella and Zinaida eventually moved to Russia together for a time, where Ella saw a good bit of success with her compositions being performed at the Alexandrisky Theater in St. Petersburg.

As Ella grew older and her trysts with society women began to fizzle out, unfortunately so did her fame in the music world. She is described in the book Queer Episodes in Music and Modern Identity as a “shadowy figure.” What we do know about the later years of her life is that she did not seem to have much camaraderie with the lesbian and bisexual subculture of  London during the the early 20th century and preferred to spend her days in the South West area of England. In the 1910s, her music became a mainstay at Frank Winterbottom’s “Symphony Concerts” in Plymouth and she would pass away on November 19, most likely 1919 in Stuttgarter Stadtkreis Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

-LC

OCTOBER 9: Alice Austen (1866-1952)

Ever since 1951, October 9th has been recognized as Alice Austen Day in the state of New York in dedication
to one of the earliest and most prolific woman photographers in American
history. Often shrouded over in history textbooks is the fact not only was Alice
Austen a pioneering feminist, but she was also a lesbian

A self-portrait of Alice Austen taken on September 19, 1892. She would later call this “the very best picture that was ever taken of me” (x).

Elizabeth Alice Munn was born on
May 23, 1866 inside St. John’s Church on Staten Island. Her father abandoned
the family before Alice was born, which affected her to the point of refusing
to go by her baptismal surname of Munn and instead choosing to be called
Austen, the name of her maternal family.  Alice would grow up at the Austen family home
called “Clear Comfort” in the Rosebank neighborhood of Staten Island, a quaint
and loved child as the only young person in a house full of six adults. Her
first camera was given to her by her uncle, Oswald Müller, who was a sea
captain and often brought the family back gifts from his expeditions. Although
she was only 10-years-old, Alice fell in love with the camera and developed a
hobby of taking photos of her family members and her pets in the family garden. Her
family recognized her talent right away and her Uncle Peter, a chemistry
professor, taught her how to develop her photos.

Alice Austen, The Darned Club, 1891. Alice Austen Photograph Collection. Courtesy of the Staten Island Historical Society (x).  

Supported by her wealthy family,
Alice spent much of her life traveling with her camera equipment and
documenting her experiences. She spent the summers traveling around Europe and
the rest of the seasons traveling around the New York area. It was on one such
excursion trip that Alice met the love of her life, Gertrude Tate. They met in
1899 at a Catskill hotel known as “Twilight Rest.” Gertrude was 28 to
Alice’s 33 and the photos of that summer are riddled with portraits of
Gertrude. Despite the Tate family’s disapproval of their daughter’s “wrong
devotion” to another woman, the two moved into Clear Comfort together in 1917. Alice
and Gertrude lived out their days at Clear Comfort comfortably as society
women, frequently attending parties and even starting a gardening club.

Alice Austen and Gertrude Tate, Pickards Penny Photo Studio, Stapleton Staten Island, c. 1905. Courtesy of Alice Austen House (x). 

Unfortunately, after the 1929
stock market crash, they fell into hard times financially and were forced to
move out of Clear Comfort and into a small apartment. Alice would live out her last years in poverty, only seeing her photography fully recognized in the last years of her life. In 1950, many of her early
photographs were published in an anthology called The Revolt of Women and an article about her life and
work was published in Life Magazine the same year. On
October 9, 1951 Alice was honored by the state of New York with the declaration
of the date as being Alice Austen Day. While at the opening ceremony of Alice
Austen Day, which was also an exhibition of her work, Alice is quoted as
saying, "I am happy that what was once so much pleasure for me turns out
now to be a pleasure for other people.” She would pass away a year later
on June 9, 1952. Although she and Gertrude had requested to be buried together,
their families refused.

-LC