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Aline Bernstein

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Title: Aline Bernstein  
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Subject: Tony Award for Best Costume Design, Motley Theatre Design Group, Tony Award winners, Thomas Wolfe, Anna Wintour Costume Center
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Aline Bernstein

Aline Bernstein (December 22, 1880 – September 7, 1955) was an American costume designer. She and Irene Lewisohn founded the Museum of Costume Art.[1]


  • Early life and family 1
  • Career 2
  • Thomas Wolfe 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life and family

She was born in 1880 in New York City to Rebecca and Joseph Frankau, an actor. Joseph was a cousin of London cigar importer Arthur Frankau and thus, by marriage, of novelist and art historian Frank Danby, whom Aline recalled visiting as a child when Joseph Frankau was performing in London.[2] By the time she was 17, both of her parents had died and she was raised by her aunt, Rachel Goldsmith. Goldsmith had a theatrical boarding house on West 44th Street in New York City. Aline married Theodore F. Bernstein, a Wall Street broker, on November 19, 1902.[3] Bernstein and her husband had two children: Theodore Frankau Bernstein (1904–1949), and Mrs. Edla Cusick (1906–1983).[4][5] She died on September 7, 1955 in New York City, aged 74.[6]


Bernstein was a theater set and costume designer for the Neighborhood Playhouse and in 1926 became the first female member of the Designer's union.[7] She also became a writer, with two books published by Knopf.[8] She was personal friends with Arthur and Blanche Knopf.[8]

  • "Three Blue Suits" (collection of short stories), 1933
  • The Journey Down (over her relationship with Wolfe), Knopf, 1938
  • Miss Condon, Knopf, 1947
  • An Actor's Daughter (memoir), 1940
  • The Martha Washington Doll Book, 1945
  • Masterpieces of Women's Costume of the 18th and 19th Centuries, 1959 (published posthumously)

Thomas Wolfe

From 1925 to 1929, Bernstein was romantically linked to Thomas Wolfe, who based the character Esther Jack on her, in his novels Of Time and the River, The Web and the Rock, and You Can't Go Home Again (1940). At the time of his death in 1938, Bernstein possessed some of Wolfe's unpublished manuscripts.[8]


  1. ^ "1944".  
  2. ^ Bernstein, Aline (1941) An Actor's Daughter, A. A. Knopf – Ch. 7 passim
  3. ^ Biography of Bernstein in Notable American Women: The Modern Period : a Biographical Dictionary, Volume 4, edited by Barbara Sicherman, Carol Hurd Green on Google books
  4. ^ "T. Bernstein, Partner in Brokerage House".  
  5. ^ "Aline Bernstein".  
  6. ^ "Aline Bernstein, designer, Dead. Creator of Costumes and Scenes for Stage Wrote Novels and Life Story".  
  7. ^ , By Christin Essin, 2012Stage Designers in Early Twentieth-Century America: Artists, Activists, Cultural Critics on Google books
  8. ^ a b c Mauldin, Joanne Marshall (2007). Thomas Wolfe: When Do the Atrocities Begin?. University of Tennessee Press. p. 229.  

External links

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