Happy birthday, Gertie!
She is turning 136 this year in her very own ageless way.
And here is the mythical birth as told in the Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas:
“Gertrude Stein was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. As I am an ardent californian and as she spent her youth there I have often begged her to be born in California but she has always remained firmly born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. She left it when she was six months old and has never seen it again and now it no longer exists being all of it Pittsburgh. She used however to delight in being born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania when during the war, in connection with war work, we used to have papers made out and they always immediately wanted to know one’s birth place. She used to say if she had been really born in California as I wanted her to have been she would never have had the pleasure of seeing the various french officials try to write, Allegheny, Pennsylvania.”
This year will be a big re-birth year for Stein. Apart from the ongoing 75th anniversary of her lecture tour through the USA, the American Literature Association will hold its 21st Annual Conference from May 27 to 30 in San Francisco: 4 whole days dedicated to the one and only Gertrude Stein. (I will be speaking about her detective novel, Blood on the Dining Room Floor.) Next, THE STEIN FAMILY AS COLLECTORS will be an important exhibition in Paris, NYC and San Francisco, followed by the exhibition SEEING GERTRUDE STEIN, at The Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco and at the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC.
Open your champagne and stay tuned!