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Leo Stein Collection

Call Number: YCAL MSS 78
Scope and Contents
The Leo Stein Collection contains manuscripts, letters, and artworks by Leo Stein, which document his life and work, principally in the latter part of his life. The collection spans the years 1892-1950.

The collection is housed in 22 boxes and 56 broadside folders, and is organized into six series: Correspondence, Notebooks, Writings, Personal Papers, Photographs, and Artworks. Box 22 contains Oversize material.

Series I, Correspondence , is divided into three subseries: Outgoing, Incoming, and Third-Party. The Outgoing series contains mainly original letters donated by recipients, though a number of carbons retained by Leo Stein are found here as well. Among the persons included in both the Outgoing and the Incoming subseries are Leo's wife, Nina Auzias Stein, family members such as Fred Stein and Howard and Bird Sternberger Gans, Leo's college friend, Mabel Foote Weeks, Otakar Coubine [Kubin], a fellow painter he encouraged, George Boas, Bernard Berenson, Hiram Haydn, and Miriam and Joe Price. Among the other items of correspondence in the Incoming section are letters Leo Stein received concerning aesthetics and psychoanalysis from fellow writers: Adolphe Basler, Trigant Burrow, John Dewey, Manuel Komroff, R. C. Trevelyan, and about art in general from artists and collectors: Albert Barnes, Edward Bruce, Leon Kroll. Included here are letters from many of his friends, such as Norman Douglas, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Daniel and Roselle Mebane, James and Conevah Osgood, Morgan Russell, and Adele Wolman. This subseries includes letters received by Nina Stein and by Chantal Quenneville, hence the dates extending through 1949.

The Third Party correspondence pertains mainly to the settling of Leo Stein's estate and the publication of Journey Into the Self, as seen in letters between Fred Stein, Hiram Haydn, Nina Stein, and Chantal Quenneville (a long-time friend of Nina Stein's). A typescript of Fred Stein's memoir of traveling around the world with Leo Stein in 1896 is included with the letters from Fred Stein to Hiram Haydn.

Series II, Notebooks and Journals , begins with a group of holograph notebooks which served all purposes for Stein: notepad, sketchbook, commonplace book, and letter-pad. They are organized according to a numbering system apparently ascribed when they were used in the preparation of Journey Into the Self. The material in these notebooks is free-form. Though many jottings take the shape of essays, there is no distinct relation between these sketchy notes and the drafts of writings in Series III. The three journals which follow are more clearly identifiable as records of daily events during the Second World War. (The existence or whereabouts of other journals is not known.)

Series III, Writings , is composed principally of the writings of Leo Stein although Writings of Others are also present. Stein's writings include titled manuscripts, including ones for which titles could be assigned, as well as numerous folders of untitled manuscripts and fragments. Among the titled manuscripts are draft materials for Appreciation: Poetry, Painting and Prose and Journey into the Self (gathered posthumously). The only distinct evidence of The A B C of Aesthetics is a selection of reviews, though parts which made up this collection may well be found here under other titles. Many other articles for such publications as The New Republic are present in typescript or printed versions. The untitled manuscripts and fragments are filed at the end of the series in no particular order, as none could be determined. The majority of these untitled pieces deal with the recurrent themes of aesthetics, art and psychoanalysis. Among the Writings of Others are several printed pieces on art and a collection of various manuscripts by Nina Stein.

Series IV, Personal Papers , includes a group of clippings about Gertrude Stein, annotated by Leo, Leo's diploma from Johns Hopkins, and receipts for artwork by Otakar Coubine.

Series V, Photographs , principally contains prints of Leo and Nina Stein and several of their friends. Included here are a series of snapshots apparently taken during a visit to Mabel Dodge Luhan's home in Taos, as well as a number of prints of artworks, mainly by Edward Bruce.

Series VI, Artwork by Leo Stein , gathers together the principal body of his output. Drawn from the Stein estate and from several gifts, this series is divided into groups by format and subject. The majority is arranged in the order in which they were inventoried during a campus-wide fine art survey conducted in the early 1980s by Yale Art Gallery staff, as evidenced by inventory numbers affixed to the canvases or boards. (The two exceptions to this being the paintings received from Cone and Keck, which were not inventoried and are arranged in the order they were received.) Central subjects tend to be landscapes (most likely of the Italian hills around Settignano) and studies of female nudes. The oil paintings on canvas had been removed from their stretchers by the time the collection was processed in 1995.

The single item in the Oversize section is a photograph from Series V.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
The Leo Stein Collection is 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
The Leo Stein Collection was acquired over several years, principally as a bequest of the estate of Leo and Nina Stein, given in 1960 through Joseph Solomon, literary executor for Leo Stein. However, many items had been given to the Yale Collection of American Literature by various parties in the years preceding. Subsequent gifts, particularly from Stein family members, completed this assemblage.
Associated Materials
Correspondence received by Leo Stein before 1913 can be found in the Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas Papers, YCAL MSS 76.
19.25 Linear Feet ((22 boxes) + 56 broadside folders)
Related Names
Stein, Leo, 1872-1947
Language of Materials