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. 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. Bernstein and her husband had two children: Theodore Frankau Bernstein (1904–1949), and Mrs. Edla Cusick (1906–1983). She died on September 7, 1955 in New York City, aged 74.
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 At the time of his death in 1938, Bernstein possessed some of Wolfe's unpublished manuscripts.
^"1944". Playbill. Retrieved December 16, 2008. "Philanthropist Irene Lewisohn died today in New York City. She and her sister Alice built and endowed the Neighborhood Playhouse. With Aline Bernstein she founded the Museum of Costume Art on Fifth Avenue in 1937"
^Bernstein, Aline (1941) An Actor's Daughter, A. A. Knopf – Ch. 7 passim
^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