Gertrude Stein

Gertrude Stein

Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 29 Jul 1946 (aged 72)
Neuilly-sur-Seine, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France, France
Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Plot Division 94
Memorial ID 977 · View Source
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Author. She received international acclaim for being an American author during the first half of the 20th century. Born into a German-Jewish family, she spent the first part of her childhood in Europe learning several languages. Her family settled in California and by the time she was seventeen, both her parents had died. In a time when women were not easily accepted in the medical field, she attended Johns Hopkins Medical School between 1897 and 1902 in hopes of becoming a physician. She graduated from what-is-now Radcliffe College in 1898. She studied psychology under William James and co-authored with another student a study revealing that individuals show their essential characters through repetitions of speech and patterns of behavior. Although females could not attend Harvard University in this era, she had two articles published in the Harvard University's “Psychology Review.” After abandoning medicine and leaving the United States for Paris, France in 1903, she became a central figure in the art world with frequent soiree gatherings in her home of noted writers, artists, and other personalities. She began in the early 20th Century to combine the art she championed, Cubism and abstract painting, into her writing. Between 1909 and 1945 she published six books: "Three Lives" in 1909; "Tender Buttons" in 1914; a 900-page novel, "The Making of Americans" finished in 1911 but published in 1925; "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas;” her second memoirs, "Everybody's Autobiography" in 1937; and "Wars I Have Seen" in 1945. Considered her best work, “The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas,” was actually Stein's memoirs written about her unconventional life-style through the eyes and voice of Toklas, a beloved friend and her life-companion. In 1980 a collection of love letters between the two women made their public debut by Yale University. She wrote numerous published poems, including “Scared Emily” containing her often quoted line, “A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.” She collaborated on an opera, “Four Saints in Three Acts,” with composer Virgil Thomson, and in 1934 returned to the United States for six months to support this project and do a lecture tour. A second opera by the two was “The Mother of All of Us” which was released in 1947 after Stein's death. During World War I, she was an ambulance driver for the French army. While in France during World War II, she sided with Allied forces, yet was friends with Bernard Fay, a Nazi Party supporter, who was sentenced to life in prison after the war for his part in causing the death and suffering of hundreds of French Jews and Freemasons. As a Jew, she gave a written statement that Fay had protected her and others from the Nazi forces during the war and saved her art collection. Later, she gave a monetary contribution to help with his 1951 escape from prison. Although never published for the American audience, she translated from French to English 32 of France's Field Marshal Philippe Petain's speeches, in which he outlines the cleansing of France's cultural foreign elements, such as Jews. She died with the diagnosis of inoperable stomach cancer.

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 977
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Gertrude Stein (3 Feb 1874–29 Jul 1946), Find a Grave Memorial no. 977, citing Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .