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Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 76

Scope and Contents

The Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers consist of manuscripts, letters, photographs, printed materials, personal papers, and art and objects which document the life and work of Stein and Toklas, principally up until 1946, the year of Stein's death. The papers span the years 1837-1961.

The papers are housed in 173 boxes and consists of nine series: Writings, Correspondence of Gertrude Stein, Third party letters, Alice B. Toklas Correspondence, Personal Papers, Clippings, Photographs, Artworks, and Objects. Boxes 168-173 contain Oversize material and Restricted fragile papers.

Series I, Writings , (boxes 1-94) consists of five subseries: Gertrude Stein Bibliography, Unpublished Manuscripts and Fragments, Bound Volumes, Carnets, and Writings of Others. This series constitutes perhaps one of the best preserved, and most nearly complete, archives of a modern writer. Gertrude Stein made a commitment during her lifetime to ensure that her papers would be available for research and to this end she also took great care in organizing and preserving her manuscripts. In the Writings series, one will find ample evidence of Stein's focused output spanning five decades: her early innovative portrait style, the complex and interlocking hermetic writings of the 1920s, her move towards more public works, "real writing" as she called it, after the success of the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas in the mid-1930s, and the reflective, even nostalgic works done towards the end of her life. While the bulk of the bibliography section documents the period from 1908, when Stein began to write consistently, to 1946, some of her earliest writings, done at Johns Hopkins and Radcliffe, can be found as well, either in printed form (Cultivated Motor Automatism, Box 10, folders 227-228) or as holographs (Daily Themes for English 22 at Radcliffe, Box 10, folders 238-239). The earliest independent works represented here are the first draft of what would become the Making of Americans, and the novel Q.E.D., both from around 1903. Texts are represented principally in two stages: manuscript notebooks and typescripts. A great many short pieces are accompanied by clippings of the versions printed in periodicals and newspapers.

The subseries Gertrude Stein Bibliography consists of writings by Stein recorded by bibliographers as having been published during Stein's lifetime or with the approval of Alice Toklas after Stein's death. These are listed alphabetically by title. The next section, Unpublished Manuscripts and Fragments, is listed alphabetically by incipit.

The fifteen Bound Volumes of typescripts which follow were received with Stein's papers in 1947 and were labeled by Stein as Volume 6 - Volume 20. They follow a chronological progression of texts from approximately 1908-1926. Cross-references have been made to these in the Gertrude Stein Bibliography. No evidence is extant of the existence of volumes 1-5, or any following volume 20.

A small group of Carnets, pocket-sized notebooks, also arrived with the archival material sent by Alice B. Toklas after Stein's death, although their significance as the earliest working notes for texts was not realized. Instead, they were classified by the library as personal effects. For many years, it was believed that Stein composed directly into notebooks. However, analysis of the existing carnets shows that, for Stein, the creation of texts was not simply a linear process. It is likely that ideas sprang from jottings in carnets, then were more fully developed in the holograph notebooks. After this, a typescript was made (usually with a carbon or two and usually by Alice B. Toklas). It can be supposed that there existed a great number of carnets (this observation is supported by notes in one carnet about the purchase of others), but only a few were received by the library.

At the end of this Series is a small group of Writing of Others, most notable among them, a draft of Sherwood Anderson's introduction to Stein's Geography and Plays.

The following information about Series I explains many of the technical aspects of the classification and arrangement of materials.

In keeping with Stein's unspecific approach to categories of texts, Writings have not been broken down into genres (such as plays and novels), nor has punctuation been used to indicate genres (e.g. quotation marks around titles of plays have not been added). However, other titles in the listing will be formatted according to standard practice; names of newspapers, for example, are underlined.

During the evolution from note form to full-fledged text, themes were often reiterated and broken off into several texts, making it difficult to see one text as truly distinct from another. In arranging and establishing titles for Stein writings, much work has been done to trace the often tangled origins of texts. Consideration has been given to the several Stein bibliographies in use for many decades by Stein scholars, but the use of an evident title assigned by Stein takes precedence over any subsequently assigned title. Cross-references have been made from commonly cited titles that do not match the established titles. Items which contain a single text will, of course, be listed under the established title. Items which contain more than one text (such as typescripts with several poems on a single page or a notebook with two plays) will be filed under the name of the first, or on occasion most significant, work in the item, with other contents appended in a note beginning "Also Contains:". Cross-references have been made for the other contents using the following format: Preciosilla Manuscript notebook [1913] In: Irma

"See:" and "See also:" references are used to establish references between variant titles and to Oversize housing for large items. In many lists of titles, the word "and" is capitalized ("AND") so that it will not be confused with a component part of a title.

Holograph manuscript originals are described as either "holograph manuscripts" for groups of individual loose sheets, or "manuscript notebook" for notebooks. Holographs and notebooks, due to their inherent nature as drafts, have not been described at any point as "corrected" In the case of multiple volumes, Stein's original numbering has been retained, even if this changes the numbering originally assigned by Donald Gallup. Very difficult groupings of volumes (e.g. Four in America), however, have been described using the Gallup sequence, but Stein's descriptions of each volume (e.g. "Wright vol. III") have been noted.

For typescripts, the following standard was followed: A version included in a bound volume (described by Gallup as "original typescript") has been deemed the primary typescript and has been described as "typescript." If a work does not appear in a bound volume, but there is a loose typescript which approximates the style of the bound volumes, this has been considered the primary typescript. All other typescripts are described as "typescript copy" - even if there are multiples. Typescripts given by Carl Van Vechten are often kept separate, but have in some instances been put with other typescript copies. All of these items are individually identified on the folder as having been given by Carl Van Vechten. If a typescript has substantive corrections, additions or deletions to the text, it has been described as "corrected". However, if the only change to a manuscript has been, in effect, to trace over faint letters or fill in the ending of a word that has trailed off the end of a carbon, these non-substantive corrections have not been described as "corrected." As evidenced by several items in the Stein/Toklas Collection, there may have been a number of carbons created from the original typescript, specifically intended to be sent to publishers. This would account for the lack of typescripts for certain texts.

As is standard practice for collections in the Beinecke Library, clippings which stand as evidence of the development of the writing process (printed versions of texts, reviews) have been filed along with the appropriate text drafts. This accounts for the appearance of many printed items in the Gertrude Stein Bibliography section of the Writings series which were previously filed with general clippings.

The Studies for the Making of Americans consist of various scraps and carnets which may have come as part of Stein's materials for this text or in a miscellaneous group. Most of the items were numbered in pencil by Leon Katz in the early 1960s. It is not clear if his numbering reflects the order of the final text or the state in which they were found. In the 1970s-80s, Ulla Dydo worked on the material and arranged the scraps and carnets in accordance with the sequence of the final manuscript text, but was not able to place all of the fragments numbered by Leon Katz or the unnumbered materials. These materials have been processed in the following order:

First group: numbered, assigned: Those items numbered by Katz and organized by Dydo. These are listed individually, with a brief physical description, an incipit and the original Katz number (e.g. Holograph leaf, "Begin with repetition about..." [#131] n.d.)

Second group: numbered, unassigned: These are the items numbered by Leon Katz that Ulla Dydo did not work on. There are divided into several folders with the numbers listed.

Third group: unnumbered, unassigned: Miscellaneous holograph pages and notebooks.

The section of Unpublished Manuscripts and Fragments contains materials previously filed in the various "Miscellaneous" or "Glass case" locations formerly assigned to the Stein archive. Notes or drafts which, upon careful examination, did correlate to a known Stein work, however, have been placed along with the other extant drafts. In the interest of not creating bibliographic "ghosts", the majority of the fragments and unidentified pieces have been left in this section. Those which could be identified as distinct entities have been individually foldered and identified with an incipit and document description (e.g. "A mes chers amis Gaston et Charlotte Chaboux...," holograph). Unidentified scraps and notes have been foldered at the end of this section and have been listed as "fragments".

Carnets, for the most part, are classed in their own category at the end of the Writings series. (Several which relate to single texts are placed under the appropriate title, e.g. Lucy Church Amiably.) They are arranged in approximate chronological order and the contents are listed briefly. [Ulla Dydo graciously allowed her notes to be used in identifying the contents of the carnets.] Specific names or titles are included if available, as in the following example: Draft of letter [to Sherwood Anderson], notes for writings "A lullaby" [As a wife has a cow?], Notes between GS and ABTn.d. Cross-references to these carnets have been made in the Bibliography section and in the Correspondence series. Besides drafts of texts and letters, notes between Stein and Toklas are mixed throughout the carnets, usually indicating the end of a day's work on a particular text, when Stein would leave typing instructions for Toklas. Such notes also appear occasionally in the notebooks, and a small group of loose notes is classed in Series II, as "Autrespondence" with Alice B. Toklas.

Critical commentary about the Stein's works, far beyond the scope of this finding aid, can be found in numerous works about Stein. Principal sources which provide a grounding in Stein's creative methodology and style are Ulla Dydo's introduction to A Stein Reader and A Gertrude Stein companion: content with the example, edited by Bruce Kellner, which is helpful in identifying persons as well.

Series II. Correspondence of Gertrude Stein , (Boxes 95-134) contains incoming letters received by Stein during the period (ca.) 1895-1946. Although there exist many apocryphal stories of an active censoring of her papers (before and after her death - by destruction, most likely) because Stein was keenly aware of how her correspondence might be used by researchers, the letters here seem to represent a relatively complete picture of her epistolary communications with friends, business relations (publishers and editors), schoolmates from Radcliffe and Johns Hopkins, and admirers of all types. In fact, as she is said to have counseled Alice B. Toklas, she wanted her quotidien correspondence to be included in her archives, fulfilling her commitment to document daily life as evident in many of her writings.

Among the longest and most studied of Stein correspondences are those with Pablo Picasso, and with Carl Van Vechten. Letters from Picasso range from 1906-1930 and are complemented by letters from Fernande Belvallé Oliver, Eva Gouël Picasso (Marcelle Humbert), and Olga Picasso. The letters of Carl Van Vechten range from the year they met, 1913, right up to the end of Gertrude's life, commenting on projects, publications, and inevitably, gossip. The letters of Van Vechten's wife, Fania Marinoff, are filed with his.

Along with the caches of letters from Picasso and Van Vechten, this series includes letters from many other people Stein memorialized in portraits: Emmet Addis, Bob Brown, the Duchesse de Clermont-Tonnerre, Jean Cocteau, Lena Lebender, Hans Purrmann, Dan Raffel (A nephew), and Princesse (Duchesse) Carlos de Rohan; fellow expatriates who guided the artistic life of Paris for much of the early 20th century: Mildred Aldrich, Natalie Barney, Sylvia Beach; collectors: Albert C. Barnes and Bernard Berenson, and collaborators: Frederick Ashton, Maurice Grosser, Clement Hurd, and Virgil Thomson.

Information concerning Stein's writing career can be traced in letters from editors and publishers who championed, or curiously monitored her work: William Bird, Bennett Cerf, Maurice Darantière, B. W. Huebsch, Eugene Jolas, Alfred and Blanche Knopf, John Lane, Dorothy Norman, Elliot Paul, William P. Sears, Ellery Sedgwick (of the Atlantic Monthly), Gilbert Seldes, Frances Steloff, and Leonard Woolf, and from the editorial offices of publishing houses and magazines which document the publishing process: Alantic Monthly, The Dial, Everybody's Magazine, The Four Seas Company, Grafton Press, Harcourt, Brace, and Co., Heinemann [firm], and William R. Scott, Inc.

The spirit of the famous Stein-Toklas salon comes through in letters from writers and artists they encouraged and guided: Sherwood Anderson, Pierre Balmain, Christian Bérard, Paul Bowles, Georges Braque, Robert Coates, Réné Crevel, Jo Davidson, Charles Demuth, Paul Drus, Paul Henri Ford, Henry Phelan Gibb, Juan Gris, Alvaro Guevara, Marsden Hartley, Ernest Hemingway, Avery Hopwood, Lindley Williams Hubbell, Georges Hugnet, Bravig Imbs, Lincoln Kirstein, Elie Lascaux, Jacques Lipchitz, Mark Lutz, George Platt Lynes, Georges Maratier, André Masson, Henri Matisse, Elie Nadelman, Francis Picabia, Man Ray, Francesco Riba-Rovira, Sir Francis Rose, Julian Sawyer, Henry Lyman Saÿen, Samuel Steward, Allen Tanner, Pavel Tchelitchew, Kristians Tonny, Felix Vallotton, Ambroise Vollard, Max White, Wendell Wilcox, and Richard Wright.

Filling out the correspondence series are a wide variety of letters from her many, many other friends and admirers: Lady Diana and Sir Robert Abdy, the Baron and Baronne d'Aiguy, Cecil Beaton, Lord Gerald Berners, Florence Blood, William A. and Jenny Bradley, John Breon, Louis Bromfield, Kate Buss, Fanny Butcher, Emily Chadbourne, Elizabeth Fuller ("Bobsy") Chapman, Etta Cone, William and Jeanne Cook, Emily Dawson, Bernard Faÿ, Ford Madox Ford, Howard, Bird, and Marion S. Gans, Grace Gassette, Robert Haas, Jane Heap, Ela Hockaday, Laura (Riding) Jackson, William James, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Beatrice Keyser, Georgiana Goddard King, May Knoblauch, Ellen La Motte, Harriet Levy, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Henry McBride, Hortense Moses, Adele Oppenheimer, Mildred and W. G. Rogers, Annette Rosenshine, Raymond Schwab, William Kelly Simpson, Edith and Sir Osbert Sitwell, Mary Street, Donald Sutherland, Ellen Alix DuPoy Taylor, Maurice Sterne, Alice Woods and Eugene Ullman, Léonie Villard, Mabel Foote Weeks, Alfred North and Jessie Whitehead, Isabel and Thornton Wilder, and Edmund Wilson.

The Stein family is represented strongly, as well. The letters from Leo Stein to his sister, Gertrude, cover the period 1895-1920, by which time their break had been cemented. Correspondence from Leo's wife, Nina, is also included. Michael and Sarah Stein wrote to Gertrude for over four decades. Another sibling, Simon, a nephew, Allen, and several cousins: Fred, Julian and Rose Ellen Stein wrote to Stein as well. At the end of the general correspondence section is a small group of Stein Family Letters which includes items from further-removed, or inexactly identified persons from the Bachrach, Rosenberg, Pulzel and Samuels families. Included here is a note pointing to other surnames of Gertrude Stein's relatives which are filed in the General correspondence.

Due to the nature of this archive, there may seem to be a bit of confused provenance—specifically with letters to Leo Stein. When Leo left the Stein household in 1913 to live in Italy, he apparently left behind a certain amount of his letters. This accounts for the existence of many letters to Leo Stein before this date. Often, these letters were addressed jointly to him and Gertrude. Because they came with Gertrude's archive, and because segregating them would cause an unintended rift in the continuity of the correspondence, they have been kept in the general correspondence filed with letters to Gertrude. Letters addressed to Leo Stein can be found in the folders for the following correspondents: Guillaume Apollinaire, Maddelena Bellucci, A.F. Bentley, Bernheim Jeune et Cie. Paris, Florence Blood, Georges Braque, Patrick Henry Bruce, Paul Chalfin, Robert Delaunay, David Edstrom, Howard Gans, Andrew Green, Hutchins Hapgood, Mary Houghton, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, Beatrice Keyser, Ephraim Keyser, Solomon Keyser, Estelle Rumbold Kohn, Walt Kuhn, Bancel LaFarge, Harriet Levy, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Henri Manguin, Alfred H. Maurer, Elie Nadelman, Adele Oppenheimer, Pablo Picasso, Miriam Price, Hans Purrmann, Morgan Russell, Lee Simonson, Eugénie Auzias Stein, Julian Stein, Michael Stein, Pauline Stein, Simon H. Stein, Maurice Sterne, Serge Tschoukine, Max Weber, Mabel Foote Weeks, and Mahonri M. Young. Leo Stein's subsequent correspondence can be found in the Leo Stein Collection (YCAL MSS 78), which has been processed separately.

This series also contains a group of correspondence from World War I consisting primarily of letters from young French soldiers who addressed Gertrude Stein as "Marraine" (godmother), thanking her for her assistance and words of comfort she provided through her war relief work.

The section of series II entitled "Autrespondence" consists of playful, in some measure coded, letters written by Stein, as instructions and love notes to Alice, usually written in the early morning hours when she was finished working on a text. Various forms of address appear on the notes, which document the growth of novels and plays, including, in some instances, lines of text which would appear in finished writings. Similar notes can be found in the carnets, described in Series I, above.

Evidence of Gertrude Stein's own letter-writing exists in several places in this archive. She would often write drafts of responses to an incoming letter on the verso of the same letter. In this case, the letters are filed in the general correspondence under the sender's name, with a note appended to the description indicating the existence of a draft, thusly: GS: draft of response This description varies in special cases, such as with the existence of notes for writings, or a draft of a letter to a third-party: GS: notes for The World is Round

There are a few instances where a draft of a letter by Stein is the only evidence of correspondence with a person. These are filed in the general correspondence by the intended recipient's name. A number of draft letters by Stein that could not be identified as to recipient are filed at the end of the general correspondence in the section: Drafts of letters by GS to unidentified recipients. A number of draft letters are also to be found in the carnets. Cross-references have been made from the Correspondence series to the Writings series for all identified recipients.

Series III, Third-Party Letters (Boxes 135) contains items which may have come as enclosures in letters to Gertrude Stein and were since separated, or may have been left in her care. The latter reason would explain the existence in Stein's papers of many letters to Annette Rosenshine who may have stayed with Stein in 1909. Many names in this series are recognizable from the General correspondence listing in Series II.

Series IV, Alice B. Toklas Correspondence , (boxes 136-138) consists of letters received by Toklas following Gertrude Stein's death in 1946. Toklas continued to give material to the Yale Collection of American Literature until her death in 1967, sending along packets of her recent correspondence every few years. Included in her correspondence were many old friends and several new acquaintances, such as: John Malcolm Brinnin, Bernard Faÿ, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, William Raney, W. G. Rogers, Sir Francis and Frederica Rose, Samuel Steward, Donald Sutherland, Max White, and Thornton Wilder. Many single letters of consolation written after Gertrude Stein's death are found here as well.

The effects of Gertrude Stein's and Alice Toklas' daily life which survive in this archive in Series V, Personal Papers , (boxes 139-141) document the wide range of activities the two shared. These files include financial records, such as account statements and bills and receipts; material concerning the American Fund for the French Wounded, a group for which Stein and Toklas worked during the First World War, including printed copies of the AFFW Weekly Bulletin containing short contributions by Alice Toklas; and copyright registration forms for several of Stein's published works.

Several holograph items by Stein are classified here, such as a collection of notes and quotations done (most likely) in her school days; notes passed between Stein and Carl Van Vechten during their flight from New York to Chicago in 1935; and a sketch of picture placement for the walls of 27 Rue de Fleurus. The clippings found here among Stein's personal effects are specifically those collected by Stein, many by or about friends of hers. Clippings detailing Stein's literary career are housed in Series VI.

Two items of note given by Toklas after Stein's death are books: Gertrude Stein: Her Life and Work by Elizabeth Sprigge, and The Third Rose by John Malcolm Brinnin. These are classified here because they have been annotated and corrected by Alice Toklas.

Among other items of ephemera are: bookplates used by Gertrude and Leo when they divided their library; the carbon work order book for Stein's Ford; fortune readings (apparently for Stein); genealogical information about the Stein family; knitting directions in the hand of Alice Toklas; a certificate for the Medaille de la Reconnaissance Française presented to Gertrude Stein; and sheet music for Stein's favorite song, "On the Trail of the Lonesome Pine" In addition, there are several typewritten transcripts of famous texts, as well as a transcript of Gertrude Stein interviewed by William Lundell of the NBC radio network during her American tour, annotated by Gertrude Stein.

Series VI, Clippings , (boxes 142-146) is divided principally into clippings about Gertrude Stein and clippings about people in her circle. A large number of general items about Stein are arranged chronologically, followed by topical groupings such as obituaries of Stein and Stein and art. The clippings about Stein document her life from the very early mentions of her involvement in the Paris art circles to the later discussions of her development as a writer. A significant number of items pertain to her American tour of 1934-35. While many of the clippings about Stein concern her published works, published instances of Stein's works and specific reviews of works are filed in Series I, Writings. Clippings about Stein's friends are principally from the 1920s and 1930s. Most of the clippings in this series are assumed to have been received as part of the Stein estate. However, there is evidence from accession records that some clippings were donated to the library directly by other persons, both before and after Stein's death. Many, for example, contain the ex-libris plate of Carl Van Vechten. For the sake of clarity, the previously homogenized group of Stein clippings has been divided in two. Those dating from Stein's lifetime, including obituaries, are included here, in the Stein/Toklas Papers. Clippings from August, 1946 and later have been filed with the Stein/Toklas Collection.

The contents of Series VII, Photographs , (boxes 147-161) have been rehoused according to the original arrangement used from the time the photographs were received from the Stein estate. Preservationally sound binder boxes and inert polypropylene sleeves have been used to preserve the photograph album style of presentation originally imposed by library staff, which has been useful for researchers over the years. The first five boxes provide a chronological overview of the life of Gertrude Stein from her childhood years in the 1870s up until shortly before her death in 1946. In Volume I, Miss Stein is pictured with her family, at college in Boston and in Baltimore, visiting sights in Europe and assisting with the Red Cross in France in World War I. Volume II concentrates on Stein's life during the 1920s and early 1930s, featuring a number of snapshots of her, Alice B. Toklas, and many friends on picnics and vacations. Volume III documents the American tour of 1934-35. Volumes IV and V continue with shots of Stein with visitors to her home in Belley before and during the Second World War, and ends with her tour of Germany in 1945 and her return to Paris. More detailed descriptions, complete with names of persons appearing in photographs are provided in the box and folder list. (Note: One original negative, of GS at the Palais Ideale [box 150, folder 3539a], came with the papers. A copy print has been made and the negative stored separately.)

The next volume contains photographic portraits of Stein by many well-known photographers and photographs that had been removed from incoming correspondence during previous processing. (All are of the letter-writer unless otherwise indicated. A few significant picture postcards have been kept with the Correspondence series and are noted in the box and folder list.) This volume also contains photographs of productions of Stein works. Two additional volumes contain prints of people. Photos under friends and family are arranged alphabetically. At the end of this group are photographs of school friends from Baltimore and Boston, and World War I friends. Another volume contains both photographs of artworks (many owned at one time by Stein) arranged alphabetically by name of artist, and pictures of places, sites and locales associated with Stein (none of which depict persons.)

Photographs from Carl Van Vechten have been included in the Stein archive because, as is the case with the manuscripts he donated, it has been difficult to distinguish whether they were given to Stein, and hence, to the library, or to the library directly from Van Vechten. These five volumes of large format Van Vechten prints feature Stein and Toklas in a series of shots taken at Bilignin in June 1934, and document the American tour with a number of portraits taken in the photographer's New York studio as well as on-site shots taken in Virginia. A few shots of Alice Toklas in Paris from 1949 end the last volume. A number of photographic postcards made by Van Vechten of various subjects can also be found in the Van Vechten folders in Series I, Correspondence.

Series VIII, Artworks , (box 162) contains a number of sketches and pieces from Toklas, mostly collected after Stein's death. (Though Gertrude Stein bequeathed her collection of artworks in trust for the care of Alice Toklas, it was eventually dispersed by the Stein family heirs in the late 1960s.) These include two ink sketches of Stein by Christian Bérard, a bronze maquette for Jo Davidson's casting of Stein, three works by Marie Laurencin, including a portrait of Basket II, a drawing by Henri Matisse of his wife pinning a hat to her head (mentioned by Stein in the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas), Francis Picabia's portrait of Stein, a number of items by Sir Francis Rose, and two Picasso works: Cafe Scene #1, an oil on panel acquired by Alice Toklas around the time she met Gertrude Stein, and Salome, a proof of an etching. (The often-cited Picasso sketch for his painting of two figures tending oxen is on a letter to Leo Stein dated 1906 August 17 and is filed in Series II, box 119, folder 2552, with other Picasso letters.)

Series IX, Objects , (box 163-166) contains three-dimensional items also given by Alice Toklas to the Yale Collection of American Literature to add to the documentary record of Stein's life. Included among these pieces are the two Louis XVI children's armchairs upholstered with petit point worked by Alice B. Toklas over designs by Pablo Picasso, two pottery plates made for Carl Van Vechten, Stein's "Rose is a rose..." seal with its jade madonna handle, and two of Stein's famous vests.

Reference prints for artworks and objects have been made to facilitate access to images of these materials and are filed in box 167.

The oversize section (boxes 168-172) contains items cross-referenced from series I, V, VI, and VII. Oversize artworks and objects have been provided with appropriate housing, as indicated in Series VIII and IX.

Restricted Fragile Papers (box 173) includes photographs from Series VII.


  • 1837 - 1961


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Restricted Fragile Papers in box 173 and cold storage may only be consulted with permission of the appropriate curator. Preservation photocopies for reference use have been substituted in the main files.

Painting in folder 4273: Restricted. On permanent loan to the Yale University Art Gallery. For more information please consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Bequest of Gertrude Stein, 1946, with subsequent gifts from Alice B. Toklas, ca. 1946-67.


93 Linear Feet ((173 boxes) + artwork, objects, cold storage)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers contain manuscripts of writings, letters, clippings, photographs, artworks, and personal papers relating to the life and work of Gertrude Stein and her companion, Alice B. Toklas, and to Gertrude's brother, Leo Stein, an artist and writer. As well as holding the bulk of Stein's literary output (often described as "experimental" or "cubist" writing), the materials document Stein and Toklas' involvement with the literary and art scene in Paris during the first half of the 20th century.
Series I, Writings, contains holograph and typescript drafts of the majority of Gertrude Stein's writings, including "The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas," "The Making of Americans" (complete with a quantity of notes, or "studies"), "Tender Buttons" and a group of unpublished fragments and carnets, notebooks kept by Stein with preliminary drafts of writings.
Series II, Correspondence of Gertrude Stein, contains letters sent from a wide variety of Stein's friends: artists such as Georges Bracque, Jean Cocteau, and Pablo Picasso; writers such as Sherwood Anderson, Ernest Hemingway, and Thornton Wilder; and acquaintances through many years such as Mildred Aldrich, Etta and Claribel Cone, Robert Haas, Mabel Dodge Luhan,Sir Francis Rose, Virgil Thomson, and Carl Van Vechten. Series III, Third Party Letters and Series IV, Alice B. Toklas Correspondence, contain letters from many of the same people, the latter group containing Alice Toklas's correspondence following Gertrude Stein's death.
Series V, Personal Papers, and Series VI, Clippings, gather together various personal affects of Stein and Toklas as well as documentation of Stein's life as reported during her lifetime.
Series VII, Photographs, show Stein from early childhood through 1946, the year she died. Prints showing Alice Toklas, various friends, artworks, and locales are included in this series, as are several volumes of prints made by Carl Van Vechten.
Series VIII and IX contain numerous artworks and objects given by Stein and Toklas. Included here are a painting by Pablo Picasso and a sketch by Henri Matisse.

GERTRUDE STEIN (1874-1946) AND ALICE B. TOKLAS (1877-1967)

The lives of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas have been documented in detail in numerous books, including The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Stein's own account of their early years in Paris. The following is a brief timeline pinpointing key events in their lives:

1874 February 3 Gertrude Stein is born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. The youngest of Amelia and Daniel Stein's five children, her closest sibling is her brother Leo, born in 1872; other siblings are Michael, born 1865, Simon, born 1867, and Bertha, born 1870.

1875 Stein family moves to Vienna, Austria. April 30 Alice Babette Toklas born in San Francisco, California.

1878 Stein family moves to Paris.

1879 Stein family returns to North America, eventually settling in Oakland, California, where Gertrude will attend school.

1888 Amelia Stein dies.

1890 Toklas family moves to Seattle, Washington, returning several years later to San Francisco.

1891 Daniel Stein dies; Michael, the oldest sibling, takes charge of the family's affairs.

1892 Gertrude Stein moves to Baltimore, Maryland, to live with an aunt.

1893 Gertrude Stein moves to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to enroll in the Harvard Annex (later known as Radcliffe College), to be near her brother, Leo, who is matriculating at Harvard University.

1895 Leo Stein makes trip around the world with his cousin Fred Stein.

1896 Gertrude travels to Europe to meet Leo, returning to America in the fall to enroll at Johns Hopkins Medical School. She earns a B.A. in medicine in 1898, but leaves the graduate program in 1902.

1902-03 Gertrude Stein travels to Europe, ending up in London with her brother Leo. Eventually, she returns to North America, to New York City briefly, before going again to Paris, where Leo is already living.

1903-07 Gertrude and Leo Stein establish a household in Paris at 27 rue de Fleurus, where she begins to write in earnest. They begin collecting artworks, eventually dedicating themselves to a group of young artists, including Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. During the winter of 1905-06, Gertrude Stein sits for Picasso's celebrated portrait.

1907 Alice Toklas travels to Paris, meeting Gertrude Stein at 27 rue de Fleurus on Sunday, September 8.

1908 Gertrude and Leo join Michael Stein's family at the Villa Bardi in Fiesole. Alice Toklas sojourns at the nearby Casa Ricci. Gertrude and Alice declare a marriage.

1908-09 Gertrude arranges for the publication of Three Lives in North America by the Grafton Press.

1912-13 Gertrude and Alice vacation in Spain.

1913 The growing rift between Leo and Gertrude is finalized when Leo moves to Settignano, Italy, with his lover Nina Auzias, after several years of living with Gertrude and Alice at 27 rue de Fleurus.

1914 March Tender Buttons is published in New York.

1914 Summer-Fall Gertrude and Alice visit London, staying longer than they expect due to the beginning of the First World War.

1915-16 Gertrude and Alice vacation in Majorca, Spain.

1917-18 Gertrude and Alice work for war relief efforts in France, traveling the countryside in their Ford van.

1920-30 Gertrude continues writing, gradually adding to her growing published bibliography. She and Alice cultivate a circle of friends, creating a literary and artistic salon peopled with writers, artists, entertainers, and American expatriates. The two begin to spend their summers in the South of France, staying at the Hotel Pernollet in Belley and eventually renting a house in Bilignin.

1927 Alice cuts Gertrude's hair.

1929 A poodle named Basket enters the household, the first in a series of dogs to be adopted by Stein and Toklas.

1930 Gertrude and Alice establish the Plain Edition imprint to publish Gertrude's works systematically, beginning with Lucy Church Amiably.

1932 Gertrude writes The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which, when published in North America in 1933, becomes a surprise best-seller.

1934 February 8 Four Saint in Three Acts, an opera to be sung, originally written in collaboration with Virgil Thomson in the late 1920s, has its debut at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut.

1934 October 24 Gertrude and Alice arrive in New York for an extended visit and lecture tour (lasting until Spring, 1935). Their itinerary takes them from Wisconsin to Louisiana, with many long stops in between at Chicago, Virginia, and New York, and a final return to Gertrude's hometown of Oakland.

1936 Gertrude and Alice fly to England, where Gertrude delivers lectures at Cambridge and Oxford.

1937 November Gertrude and Alice move from rue de Fleurus to 5 rue Christine after their landlord reclaims their flat.

1940 June 14 Paris is taken by Germans forces. Gertrude and Alice stay in the South of France.

1940-44 Living at first in their rented homes in Bilignin, Gertrude and Alice move in the winter of 1942 to nearby Culoz. Gertrude continues writing, though they experience times of deprivation and external communications dwindle to practically nil for a time.

1944 December Following the liberation of Paris, Gertrude and Alice move home to find their apartment and their collection of artworks intact.

1945 June Gertrude and Alice tour Germany with American GIs.

1946 July 27 After a brief illness and days after receiving copies of Brewsie and Willie, her final book, Gertrude Stein dies of cancer at the American Hospital at Neuilly.

1946 October 22 Gertrude Stein is buried in Père Lachaise cemetery, Paris, France.

1947 July 29 Leo Stein dies.

1946-67 Alice B. Toklas remains in Paris, dedicating herself to seeing through the publication of The Yale Edition of the Unpublished Writings of Gertrude Stein (issued in eight volumes between 1951 and 1958.) She, herself, begins to write, publishing a volume of memoirs and two cookbooks.

1967 March 7 Shortly before her 90th birthday, Alice Toklas dies in Paris, and is interred next to Gertrude Stein in the tomb in Père Lachaise.

History of the Papers

The story of how Gertrude Stein's papers made their way into the Yale Collection of American Literature has been detailed in an essay by Donald Gallup in the Yale Library Gazette (October 1947). The acquisition of the Stein archive came about in large part as a result of her close friendships with Carl Van Vechten and Thornton Wilder, both of whom having strong ties to Yale encouraged Stein to donate material to the Yale Collection of American Literature. Most pre-1946 gifts noted below were given by Stein through either Van Vechten or Wilder. The name of the go-between is given, if known.

1937 June Thornton Wilder, on behalf of Gertrude Stein, deposits typescripts of "Four in America," "An American and France," and "What are Masterpieces..."

1938 February-March Thornton Wilder, on behalf of Stein, deposits additional Stein works. One, "A Long Gay Book" is made a gift to the library following a formal letter from Stein to Andrew Keogh, Librarian of Yale University.

1939 July Deposit of typescripts of "Everybody's Autobiography" and "Stanzas in Meditation."

1940 April Deposit of part of the corrected galley proof of "Three Lives".

1940 November Carl Van Vechten gives all of his typescripts of Stein writings. These had been prepared by Toklas and sent to Van Vechten for safekeeping before the outbreak of World War II. Van Vechten also gives many of his own materials, such as photographs of Stein. (Letters to him from Stein, also given at this time, are considered part of Van Vechten's papers.)

1941 March 24 Following the success of an exhibition of Stein material at Yale, Stein writes Bernard Knollenberg, Librarian of Yale University, promising eventually to give additional manuscripts and letters at a future date.

1940 Friends of Stein begin to give material for a Gertrude Stein Collection.

1945-46 After long delays due to the war, Stein resumes correspondence with the Yale Library to plan the gift and transfer of the rest of her archive.

1946 July 23 Faced with the prospect of surgery, Stein writes her will, giving her writings to Yale University.

1946 July 27 Gertrude Stein dies in Paris.

1947 Shipments received at Yale from Alice Toklas of Stein material: manuscripts, books, photographs, and personal material.

1947-67 Alice Toklas sends intermittent additions for the Stein archive, principally posthumous appearances of Stein writings and clippings about Stein, along with letters bearing on Stein that Toklas received during this period.

1947-95 Friends and admirers of Stein and Toklas (especially Carl Van Vechten) continue to send material for the Stein Collection.

Because of the close association between Stein and Carl Van Vechten (he being her principal liaison with the Yale Library and later her literary executor), many items in the Stein/Toklas Papers were, in fact, given by Van Vechten. For years, donations from Van Vechten were integrated into this archive, creating a state in which it is difficult to distinguish the provenance of many items. Since his donations were given, in many cases, with Stein's knowledge or on her behalf, it has been decided that an attempt to extract the component of the archive actually given by Van Vechten would not be of benefit to researchers. The one notable exception to this decision is the determination that Stein's letters to Van Vechten are to remain in Van Vechten's papers.

In addition to the Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers, there are two groups of closely connected materials in the Yale Collection of American Literature. The many items donated by friends and admirers during the years following Stein's death have been organized into the Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Collection (YCAL MSS 77). Material from the estate of Leo Stein, combined with gifts from other parties, constitute the Leo Stein Collection (YCAL MSS 78). The finding aids for these collections describe their content and their relation to the Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers.

Separated Materials

Two paintings (Francis Picabia's portrait of Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso's "Cafe Scene #1") were transferred permanently to the Yale University Art Gallery in 2019.

Appendix A: Guide to the Microfilm

Microfilm Call NumberReelBoxes FilmedFolders FilmedNotes
Series I. Writings of Gertrude Stein
MS Vault film 12454311-25
MS Vault film 1247441-326-61
MS Vault film 124645362-79
MS Vault film 127346480-91
MS Vault film 1274475-692-118
MS Vault film 1275486-7119-146
MS Vault film 1276497-8147-162
MS Vault film 1277508163-168
MS Vault film 1284519169-196
MS Vault film 1285529-10197-235
MS Vault film 12865310-11236-259
MS Vault film 12875411-12260-283
MS Vault film 12885512-13284-302
MS Vault film 12895613303-307
MS Vault film 12955714308-314
MS Vault film 12965814-16315-334
MS Vault film 12975916-17335-349
MS Vault film 12986017-18350-369
MS Vault film 12996118-19370-381
MS Vault film 13006219-20382-391
MS Vault film 13016320392-400
MS Vault film 13116421-22401-432
MS Vault film 13126522-23433-449
MS Vault film 13136623-24450-462
MS Vault film 13146724-25463-503
MS Vault film 13156825504-512
MS Vault film 13176926513-535
MS Vault film 13187026-27536-546
MS Vault film 13197127-28547-571
MS Vault film 13207228-29572-611
MS Vault film 13217329-30612-627
MS Vault film 13227430628-641
MS Vault film 13287531642-654
MS Vault film 13297631-32655-663
MS Vault film 13307732-33664-692
MS Vault film 13317833693-707
MS Vault film 13327934-35708-715
MS Vault film 13338035716-733
MS Vault film 13348135734-735
MS Vault film 13438236736-748
MS Vault film 13448336-37749-778a
MS Vault film 13458437-38779-797
MS Vault film 13468538-39798-819
MS Vault film 13478639-40820-837
MS Vault film 13488740838-842
MS Vault film 13488841843-846
MS Vault film 13498941847-849
MS Vault film 13509042850-854
MS Vault film 13519142-43855-858
MS Vault film 13529243-44859-862
MS Vault film 13539344-45863-868
MS Vault film 13549445869-873
MS Vault film 13619546874-876
MS Vault film 13629646-47877-882
MS Vault film 13639747-48883-890
MS Vault film 13649848-49891-898
MS Vault film 13659949-50899-905
MS Vault film 136610050906-909
MS Vault film 136710151910-914
MS Vault film 136810251-52915-918
MS Vault film 136910352-53919-932
MS Vault film 137010453933-942
MS Vault film 137110553-54943-953
MS Vault film 137210654-55954-974
MS Vault film 137310755975-980
MS Vault film 141310856-57981-998
MS Vault film 141410957999-1005
MS Vault film 1415110581006-1030
MS Vault film 142311159-601031-1061
MS Vault film 142411260-611062-1071
MS Vault film 1425113611072-1077
MS Vault film 142611461-621078-1095
MS Vault film 142711562-631096-1119
MS Vault film 142811663-641120-1137"Paris France": the notebook (imprinted with "Le Bon Grain") has been put in correct sequence - moved from folder 1120 to folder 1122.
MS Vault film 1429117641138-1144
MS Vault film 1436118651145-1162
MS Vault film 143711966-671163-1199
MS Vault film 143812067-681200-1226
MS Vault film 143912168-691227-1248
MS Vault film 144012269-701249-1290
MS Vault film 1441123701291-1298
MS Vault film 1448124711299-1316
MS Vault film 1449125721317-1330
MS Vault film 145012673-741331-1358
MS Vault film 145112774-751359-1381
MS Vault film 145212875-761382-1403
MS Vault film 1453129761404-1407
MS Vault film 145913077-781408-1431
MS Vault film 146013178-791432-1443
MS Vault film 146113279-801444-1466
MS Vault film 146213380-811467-1475
MS Vault film 1463134811476-1485
MS Vault film 1464135821486-1518
MS Vault film 146513683-841519-1546
MS Vault film 1466137841547-1569
MS Vault film 146713885-861570-1636Contents of folder 1596, "Armandine, Armandine" were identified and filed with folder 1454, "Vacation in Brittany".
MS Vault film 146813986-871637-1691One leaf, "Suggested Supplementary Reading", formerly in folder 1690 moved to Box 59, folder 1043
MS Vault film 1469140881692-1696
MS Vault film 1470141891697-1699
MS Vault film 1471142901700-1702
MS Vault film 147214390-911703-1705
MS Vault film 147314491-921706-1720
MS Vault film 1474145921721-1726
MS Vault film 147514693-941727-1760
Series II. Gertrude Stein Correspondence
MS Vault film 11491951761-1790
MS Vault film 1150295-961791-1806
MS Vault film 1151396-971807-1853
MS Vault film 1152497-981854-1880
MS Vault film 1153598-991881-1911
MS Vault film 1154699-1001912-1935
MS Vault film 11557100-1011936-1972
MS Vault film 11568101-1021973-1988
MS Vault film 11579102-1031989-2015
MS Vault film 115810103-1042016-2067Folder 2060 has been changed from Dudley, Catharine to Dudley, Caroline.
MS Vault film 115911105-1062068-2095
MS Vault film 116012106-1072096-2121
MS Vault film 116113107-1082122-2155
MS Vault film 116214108-1092156-2192
MS Vault film 1163151092193-2216
MS Vault film 116416110-1112217-2255
MS Vault film 116517111-1122256-2283Folder 2267 has been changed to Hugnet, Georges (father of Georges), 1926, 1931.
The letter of 1929 Sep 9 has been moved from folder 2264 to folder 2267.
Folder 2278 has been changed from Imbs, Nella Larsen to Imes, Nella Larsen.
MS Vault film 116618112-1132284-2319
MS Vault film 116719113-1142320-2358
MS Vault film 1168201142359-2390
MS Vault film 1183211152391-2420
MS Vault film 1184221162421-2477
MS Vault film 1185231172478-2523
MS Vault film 118624118-1192524-2558
MS Vault film 118725119-1202559-2608Letters from Man Ray: letter dated 1925 Aug 23 has been corrected to 1922 Aug 23 and refiled chronologically.
One letter from Radcliffe College Library was removed from folder 2579 and filed with folder 2581.
MS Vault film 1198261212609-2623
MS Vault film 1197271222624-2648
MS Vault film 1196281232649-2678
MS Vault film 1229291242679-2715In folder 2711, a substituted photocopy was filmed, not the original letter.
MS Vault film 1228301252716-2729
MS Vault film 1227311262730-2754
MS Vault film 1230321272755-2776
MS Vault film 331282777-2811
MS Vault film 1233341292812-2822
MS Vault film 1234351302823-2848
MS Vault film 1235361312849-2884
MS Vault film 1236371322885-2917
MS Vault film 1237381332918-2930
MS Vault film 1238391342931-2962
Series III. Third-Party Letters
MS Vault film 1240401352962a-3071
Series IV. Alice B. Toklas Correspondence
MS Vault film 124141136-1373072-3191
MS Vault film 124242137-1383192-3244
Series V. Personal Papers
MS Vault film 1476147139-1403245-3292
MS Vault film 1477148140-1413293-3332
Series VI. Clippings
MS Vault film 1478149142-1433333-3353
MS Vault film 14791501443354-3364
MS Vault film 14851511453365-3372
MS Vault film 14861521463373-3390
Series VII. Photographs
MS Vault film 1494153147-1513391-3655
MS Vault film 1504154152-1563656-3970
MS Vault film 1514155157-1613971-4247
Series VIII. Artworks & Series IX. Objects
MS Vault film 1521156162-1664248-4306
MS Vault film 1584157168-1694308-4334
MS Vault film 1585158170-1724335-4361
MS Vault film 14111591443354-3364

Processing Information

A folder of letters from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Gertrude Stein, dated 1925-1934, was incorporated into the collection in 2004. This material is filed in Series II, Gertrude Stein Correspondence, General Correspondence.

Guide to the Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers
Under Revision
by Timothy G. Young
August 1996
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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