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Gertrude Stein

An experimental writer whose works inspired Ernest Hemingway and Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude Stein shaped American literature with her writing and literary culture with her legendary Paris salons. In 1893, Stein followed her brother Leo to Harvard, where she took classes with William James and George Santayana at the Annex, the precursor to Radcliffe. Stein and her brothers Leo and Michael settled in Paris in 1903, where Stein began her writing career, although her early works were not well received. In 1907, she met Alice B. Toklas, her partner in every sense of the word, and the pair moved in together, co-hosting salons that included Picasso, Matisse, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald. Stein’s writing became more experimental, and her 1912 Tender Buttons was praised for its word-collage effect and innovative use of repetition. In her writing, Stein often used experimental techniques and coded language to explore her feelings for Toklas. In 1926, Stein lectured at Oxford and Cambridge and began writing essays explaining her experimental approach to writing. In 1933, she published her Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, finally achieving popular success and embarking on promotional tours of the US.

Stein, Gertrude - still image [media]
Full image

American-born writer Gertrude Stein is pictured here (R) at the Paris residence she lived in for 33 years, and which became a salon for the artists and writers of the era, in Man Ray's 1923 work Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas in the Atelier at 27 Rue de Fleurus.

Institution: Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Date of Birth
February 3, 1874
Place of Birth
Allegheny, Pennsylvania
Date of Death
July 27, 1946

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Gertrude Stein." (Viewed on November 30, 2015) <>.


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