Legacy Library: Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas

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Member: SteinToklasLibrary

CollectionsLibrary at 5 rue Christine (958), Beinecke Library (161), All collections (958)

ReviewsNone

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MediaBook (958), Paper Book (958), Magazine (paper) (16), Journal (paper) (13)

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About meGertrude Stein (3 February, 1874 – 27 July, 1946) and Alice B. Toklas (30 April 1877 - 7 March, 1967) were prominent figures in the modernist, avant-garde movement of the Left Bank during the early twentieth century. Stein was an American writer of novels, plays, and poetry. Moving to Paris, she met Toklas and began collecting artworks by Picasso, Matisse, Renoir, and Cézanne, among others. Together they hosted a regular literary salon where they influeneced the works of writers of the period such as Hemingway, and Fitzgerald.

About my libraryThe library of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas was located on Paris' Left Bank, first at 27 rue de Fleurus and moved to 5 rue Christine in 1938. Their books lay among their collection of artworks in what has often been described as the first museum of modern art.

After an offer of depositing Stein's works within the library in 1937, she expressed in a letter to Andrew Keogh, a librarian at the university, that in the event of her death "all this material becomes automatically your property." The collection, which included her personal papers and manuscripts, continued to grow by later contributions throughout her life. With Stein's death in 1946, the French government however refused to allow the remainder of her papers to be exported:

It was only when the American Embassy intervened in the Library's behalf that the initial shipment of two boxes plus a third box packed after Miss Stein's death was allowed to leave the country. These arrived on February 1947; two more boxes followed on May 8, and there have been numerous smaller shipments since. Miss Stein had not exaggerated when she described the papers as being "in a good deal of mess," and a corner of the Yale Collection of American Literature room looked for many days like a wastepaper collection center. Gradually the incredible wealth of the material was revealed.

Stein and Toklas' collection of books was shipped in 1947, catalogued by Yale University as manuscripts, books, photographs, and personal material. Included in this were "more than a hundred and fifty presentation copies of books, mostly first editions, by Sherwood Anderson, Louis Bloomfield, Jean Cocteau, Bernard Fay, Ernest Hemingway, Clare Boothe Luce, the Sitwells, Carl Van Vechten, Thornton Wilder, and other noted writers."

Extracts taken from: Gallup, Donald. "The Gertrude Stein Collection." The Yale University Library Gazette, Vol. 22, No. 2 (October 1947), pp. 21-32.

Source: The personal library of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas was reproduced from the original bequest inventory, and from records of extant copies held by the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University.

Questions, comments, or additional sources of information are always welcome; please contact Colm Guerin.

GroupsLegacy Libraries

Real nameGertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas

LocationParis, France

Favorite authorsNot set

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/SteinToklasLibrary (profile)
/catalog/SteinToklasLibrary (library)

Member sinceJun 19, 2014

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