Publish date:
Updated on
Year
1910

Alice B. Toklas moves in permanently with Gertrude Stein

On this day in 1910, Alice B. Toklas becomes the lifetime house mate of avant-garde writer Gertrude Stein.

Stein, who shared a house with her brother Leo for many years, met Toklas in 1907. Toklas began staying with Stein and Leo in Paris in 1909, then moved in permanently in 1910. Stein’s brother Leo moved out in 1914. Toklas’ love and support of Stein was so important that when Stein wrote her autobiography in 1933, she titled it The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, adopting Toklas’ persona as the narrator of her own memoirs.

The two women turned their Parisian home at 22 rue de Fleurus into an important artistic and literary salon, where they entertained Picasso, Matisse, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and many others. Stein’s own avant-garde writing attempted to create a Cubist literature that used words like the strokes of a paintbrush.

Stein was born in Pennsylvania in 1879 and traveled around Europe with her parents and four siblings. The family settled in Oakland when she was seven, and she spent much of her childhood raised by a governess. Very attached to her older brother, Leo, she followed him to Harvard and studied psychology with William James. She then followed Leo to Johns Hopkins, where she studied medicine for a year, then gave up. The siblings moved to Paris in 1903. Her best-known works include the novels Three Lives (1909) and The Making of Americans (1925), her autobiography, and the experimental work Tender Buttons (1914).

Stein and Toklas survived the German occupation of Paris and later befriended many American servicemen in the city. After the success of her opera, Four Saints in Three Acts (1934), Stein launched a successful U.S. lecture tour. Stein is considered one of the most influential thinkers and writers of the century. She died in France in 1946. Her last words, according to Toklas, were, “What is the answer? … In that case, what is the question?”

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Riot at Attica prison

Prisoners riot and seize control of the maximum-security Attica Correctional Facility near Buffalo, New York. Later that day, state police retook most of the prison, but 1,281 convicts occupied an exercise field called D Yard, where they held 39 prison guards and employees ...read more

Japanese bomb U.S. mainland

On this day in 1942, a Japanese floatplane drops incendiary bombs on an Oregon state forest-the first and only air attack on the U.S. mainland in the war. Launching from the Japanese sub I-25, Nobuo Fujita piloted his light aircraft over the state of Oregon and firebombed Mount ...read more

Ho Chi Minh buried in Hanoi

Funeral services, attended by 250,000 mourners, are held for Ho Chi Minh in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh Square. Among those in attendance were Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin, Chinese Vice-Premier Li Hsien-nien and Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia. Ho had established the Indochinese ...read more

Hackney receives Medal of Honor

Sergeant Duane D. Hackney is presented with the Air Force Cross for bravery in rescuing an Air Force pilot in Vietnam. He was the first living Air Force enlisted man to receive the award, the nation’s second highest award for bravery in action. ...read more

The Boston police department goes on strike

The infamous Boston Police Strike of 1919 begins, causing an uproar around the nation and confirming the growing influence of unions on American life. Using the situation to their advantage, criminals took the opportunity to loot the city. As society changed in the 20th century, ...read more

Mao Zedong Dies

Mao Zedong, who led the Chinese people through a long revolution and then ruled the nation’s communist government from its establishment in 1949, dies. Along with V.I. Lenin and Joseph Stalin, Mao was one of the most significant communist figures of the Cold War. Mao was born in ...read more