In 1899 Alice Austen met Gertrude Amelia Tate of Brooklyn, New York. She became Alice's lifelong companion. Gertrude moved in with Alice at Clear Comfort in 1917. They already were lovers for eighteen years.
An independent income allowed Austen to pursue her photographic interests without the need to sell her work. this changed when the stock market crashed in 1929, taking with it much of her capital.
Thinking the crisis would soon pass, Austen mortgaged her house and traveled ijn Europe with Tate. On their return, they ran a tea room on the front lawn during summer months and struggled to live on money Tate earned teching ballroom dancing and deportment, but in 1945 the house was lost.
After a few years in a mall apartment, Gertrude Tate went to live with her family members. who disapproved of her relationship with Austen.
The so called "Boston marriage" of Gertrude Tate with Alice Austen lasted for more than 50 years.