Gertrude Stein
(1874-1946)

woman and literary luminary

Died aged c. 72

Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) was an American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector. Born in the Allegheny West neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised in Oakland, California, Stein moved to Paris in 1903, and made France her home for the remainder of her life. She hosted a Paris salon, where the leading figures in modernism in literature and art, such as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, Ezra Pound, and Henri Matisse would meet. In 1933, Stein published a kind of memoir of her Paris years, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, written in the voice of her life partner, Alice B. Toklas. Toklas was an American-born member of the Parisian avant-garde. The book became a literary bestseller and vaulted Stein from the relative obscurity of the cult literarure scene into the limelight of mainstream attention. Two quotes from her works have become widely known: "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose" and "there is no there there", with the latter often taken to be a reference to her childhood home of Oakland, California. Her books include Q.E.D. (Quod Erat Demonstrandum) (1903), about a lesbian romantic affair involving several of Stein's female friends; Fernhurst, a fictional story about a romantic affair; Three Lives (1905–06) and The Making of Americans (1902-1911). In Tender Buttons (1914), Stein commented on lesbian sexuality. Her activities during World War II have been the subject of analysis and commentary. As a Jew living in Nazi-occupied France, Stein may have only been able to sustain her lifestyle as an art collector, and indeed to ensure her physical safety, through the protection of powerful Vichy government official and Nazi collaborator Bernard Faÿ. After the war ended, Stein expressed admiration for another Nazi collaborator, Vichy leader Marshall Pétain. Some have argued that certain accounts of Stein's wartime activities have amounted to a "witch hunt".

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Commemorated on 2 plaques

Open Plaques on Flickr
Monceau on Flickr

The Algonquin Hotel. Site of the legendary Algonquin Round Table of the 1920s, where such acid-tongued wits as Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and Alexander Woollcott traded barbs and bon mots daily over lunch. The century's literary luminaries -- William Faulkner, Sinclair Lewis, Harold Ross of The New Yorker, Gertrude Stein and James Thurber, among countless others -- also found a haven within its oak-lined walls.

The Algonquin Hotel, West 44th Street, New York, NY, United States where they found a haven

Gertrude Stein 1874-1946 Écrivain Américain Vécut ici avec son frère Léo Stein puis avec Alice B. Toklas elle y reçut de nombreux artistes et écrivains de 1903 à 1938

English translation: Gertrude Stein 1874-1946 American Writer Vécut ici avec son frère Léo Stein puis avec Alice B. Toklas she received many artists and writers from 1903 to 1938 [AWS Translate]

27 rue de Fleurus, Paris, France where they lived (1903-1938)