Skip to main content

Stein, Gertrude, 1874-1946



Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) was an American expatriate novelist, playwright, poet, and art collector. She was born outside Pittsburgh, lived in Oakland, California, and then spent the rest of her life in Paris, France, becoming a part of the Parisian avant-garde with her life-partner Alice B. Toklas.

She attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1893 to 1897, studying psychology's normal motor automatism (an early predecessor of the concept of "stream of consciousness"), particularly the behavior of humans when participating in intelligent activities such as speaking and writing, topics which would influence her later writings. At Radcliffe she developed a life-long friendship with pen pal Mabel Foote Weeks. From 1897 to 1901, she attended Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, but grew bored of her medical studies and frustrated with the male-dominated field.

By 1902, Stein and her brother Leo Stein moved to London and then Paris in 1903, where Stein eventually met Alice B. Toklas. The Stein siblings became passionate collectors and hosts of turn-of-the-century art and literary salons, respectively. They were a critical, familial unit until Stein and brother Leo eventually disagreed with each other on what was considered art and parted ways in 1913.

From 1909 onward, Stein wrote dozens of works, including novels, poetry, plays, operas, essays, biographies and commentaries on life in Europe and America. She did this with the help of Toklas as her secretary and transcriber, while Stein dictated much of her words to her.

Some of her best known works include Tender Buttons (1914), while her most influential works are considered The Making of Americans (1925), How to Write (1931), and The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933).

Source: Academy of American Poets. "Gertrude Stein." Accessed December 22, 2017.

Found in 5 Collections and/or Records:

Gertrude Stein collection at Johns Hopkins University

Identifier: MS-0970
Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence, photographs, and ephemera associated with author Gertrude Stein.

Dates: 1930 - 1934

Gertrude Stein papers

 Collection — Box 1: [Barcode: 31151030056323]
Identifier: MS-0466
Scope and Contents The collection consists of eight items donated by Robert Wilson, as well as a corrected typescript of Stein's poem, "One has Not Lost One's Marguerite," which appeared in the April 1926 copy of the Black and Blue Jay, along with a letter from Syndey M. Cone to John French describing the poem's publication in the magazine. The Robert Wilson items are: a copy photograph of Gertrude; an announcement for the play, "Gertrude and Alice"; three greeting cards that use Stein's images and words; the...
Dates: 1956, 2000

Photograph of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas boarding a plane on their first flight, 1934-11-07

 File — Box 1: [Barcode: 31151036980492]
Scope and Contents Photograph by Carl Van Vechten of Gertrude Stein and her partner Alice B. Toklas boarding a plane. The photographer wrote of the event, "This shows the beginning of Miss Stein's and Miss Toklas's first airplane voyage, when they flew to Chicago to hear a performance of 'Four Saints in Three Acts' at the Chicago Auditoriumn. I flew with them and made these pictures just before the start. The fetishes in their hands, presents from me, are little beaded men on a base of rabbit's foot, made by...
Dates: 1934-11-07

Robert A. Wilson collection of Gertrude Stein materials

Identifier: MS-0785
Abstract Robert A. Wilson (1922-2016) was a Baltimore native who owned the Phoenix Book Shop in Greenwich Village, New York and was a well-known collector of signed first editions of works by his favorite literary figures, particularly Gertrude Stein. Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) was an American expatriate novelist, playwright, poet, and art collector. She was born outside Pittsburgh, lived in Oakland, California, and then spent the rest of her life in Paris, France, becoming a part of the Parisian...
Dates: 1874 - 2011

Victor Lowe collection of Alfred North Whitehead materials

Identifier: MS-0282

Alfred North Whitehead was an English mathematician and philosopher born on the Isle of Thanet in 1861. The bulk of the collection is formed by correspondence between some members of the Whitehead family: Alfred North Whitehead, his wife Evelyn Willoughby-Wade Whitehead, their son T. North Whitehead, and their daughter-in-law Margaret Whitehead dating from the 1920s-1940s.

Dates: 1899-1949; Majority of material found within 1924-1939

Additional filters:

Collection 4
Archival Object 1
letters (correspondence) 2
photographs 2
American drama 1
American literature 1
American poetry 1