And Alice gets her birthday due, too…

April 30th, 2010 § 1 comment § permalink

OK, I celebrated Gertrude’s birthday with a post in February and mine in March with a post, so now here’s to Alice B. Toklas who was born today in 1877!

As she wrote at the beginning of  her memoir WHAT IS REMEMBERED:

“I was born and raised in California, where my maternal grandfather had been a pioneer before the state was admitted to the Union.  He had bought a gold mine and settled in Jackson, Amador County.  A few years later he crossed the Isthmus of Panama again and went to Brooklyn, where he married my grandmother.  There my mother was born.  When she was three years old, they went to Jackson.”

And then there’s Gertrudes’s take on Alice’s beginnings in THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF ALICE B. TOKLAS:

“I was born in San Francisco, California.  I have in consequence always preferred living in a temperate climate but it is difficult, on the continent of Europe or even in America, to find a temperate climate and live in it.  My mother’s father was a pioneer, he came to California in ’49, he married my grandmother who was very fond of music.  She was a pupil of Clara Schumann’s father.  My mother was a quiet charming woman named Emilie.”

Alice B. , circa 1878

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GertrudeandAlice: Believe It or Not

April 15th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

Last summer when I told one of my friends, who is also a big GertrudeandAlice fan, that I was going to write a blog devoted to them, his first response was that he hoped I’d be writing about things that hadn’t been written about and that I wouldn’t write silly things making fun of them.

I did mention the chickens in England  named Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein in an earlier post about items I’d received through my GoogleAlert.  I guess that was silly. Sorry.

But now to some  items about GertrudeandAlice that, though factual, could fall into the “Believe It or Not!” category.  Some are the kind of tidbits that scholars love to unearth or reference to indicate that they are really in the know and that they’ve scoured those boxes in the lower basements of research libraries.  For fans like me, they are like the shiny nuggets among the pebbles in a gold miner’s pan and almost as exciting as finding a previously unseen photograph of GertrudeandAlice tucked away in the pages of a rare book.

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Being there, there: April 8-19, 1935

April 8th, 2010 § 0 comments § permalink

“My Mesdames began preparing for it months in advance. They placed orders for new dresses, gloves and shoes. Nothing was extravagant, but everything was luxurious, waistcoats embroidered with flowers and several kinds of birds, traveling outfits in handsome tweeds with brown velvet trims and buttons, shoes identical except for the heels and the size.”

THE BOOK OF SALT (2003) by Monique Truong

Seventy-five years ago today, GertrudeandAlice arrived in San Francisco as part of their 1934-35 U.S. lecture tour.  They drove from Los Angeles in a rental car. (Gertrude had been introduced to the concept of car rentals on a Chicago stop and was fascinated by it.)

Gertrude had not been in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than forty years and Alice returned after leaving for Paris in 1907.

For eleven days they were regaled by the City staying at the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill and spending the days at luncheons and lectures and visiting some of the places they had known many of which had changed since the 1906 fire and earthquake.

Top of the Mark, San Francisco circa 1930s

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