Happy 140th Alice B.!

April 30th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s Alice birthday time again and the years certainly do flit by!

It was fifteen years ago that I organized an exhibition at the San Francisco Public Library to commemorate Alice’s 125th and then packed it up to be shown at the American Library in Paris. In the spirit of time marching along at a steady pace and looking back – let’s make “Throw Back Thursday,” “Throw Back Birthday” – here is my Alice birthday post from seven, short years ago. Happy Birthday once again, Alice B.!

And Alice gets her birthday due, too…



1967: Alice Amidst The Year That Was

March 7th, 2017 § 1 comment § permalink

Today is the 50th anniversary of the death of Alice B. Toklas in Paris, one event in a memorable 1967.

In a post several years ago, I used the title “That Was The Year That Was,” a variation of the mid- 1960s television show called “That Was The Week That Was.” The program, a predecessor of “Saturday Night Live,” and John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight,” took a humorous, satiric look at the news of the previous week.

To commemorate Alice, I’m looking at  “…The Year That Was,” 1967. (She lived without Gertrude for twenty-one years.)

GertrudeandAlice together, June 1934

» Read the rest of this entry «

October to April: It’s ALICE B. TIME

October 12th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

One of my goals when I began this blog was to bring as much recognition to Alice as to Gertrude. Though my use of the term “GertrudeandAlice” implies a symbiotic relationship, which it was, Alice still often plays second fiddle to Gertrude’s first chair violin for some people.


I think I have been able to rectify this disparity of wellknownness over the years and I must think that even Gertrude would not be upset to know that Alice has gotten her due as so much more than chief cook and bottle washer!

In the next few months I propose giving Alice even more due !


March 7, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Alice’s death, so I’m declaring the six month period from now until Alice’s 140th birthday on April 30th ALICE B. TIME! And by chance, there are a lot of Alice related things happening during ABT. » Read the rest of this entry «

Five Years Later: The Journey of My Own Plain Edition

September 12th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

This year is the 5th anniversary of my book GERTRUDE AND ALICE AND FRITZ AND TOM. I know it’s a cliche, but I must say it anyway – “Where has the time gone?” 

The book has found its way to readers around the world and just last week I shipped another five copies to Shakespeare & Company in Paris, which has sold more copies of it than any other bookstore or online retailer, which I find so appropriate and gratifying.

Would I do it again? Yes! Do I have more tales to tell, yes! But for now, here is my post from five years ago, as I awaited the first shipment of books from Singapore:

Wasn’t it Lady Macbeth who said “What’s done is done,” at some point either before or after that bloody dagger scene? (Just checked, it’s after the dagger scene – that would be logical !)

…the deed is done!

Well, I’ve done it too and feel a bit like a parent dropping off his first child at kindergarten hoping for the best as tears well-up and Miss Crabtree leads the young one away to join the other rascals.

Miss Crabtree in charge

So what is it that’s been done – the children’s picture book which I’ve been working on for…let’s just say many,many years is on its way to a printer in Singapore!

» Read the rest of this entry «

GertrudeandAliceandFritzandTom…andSamsonandCaesar: Two Anniversaries Await in 2016

September 8th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

As we move from one season to another, it’s common to reflect on where the time has gone and can it really be time to exchange one set of clothes in the closet for another? (Those of us who live in the San Francisco Bay area or similar climates, usually have both spring/summer and fall/winter clothes ready year round.)

Come September, it’s also time to look ahead to things happening by the end of the year and those that will inaugurate the coming year. In my GertrudeandAlice world there are a few items in the offing if all goes according to plans.

My anniversary-obsessed mind has pinpointed two in 2016, though as the new year gets closer and closer, I’m sure there may be others.

This coming year marks the 5th anniversary of my picture book GERTRUDE AND ALICE AND FRITZ AND TOM and (drumroll, please!) the 90th anniversary of Gertrude’s famous, Caesar haircut! Since the book is set in 1925, Gertrude still has her woman bun.

map of paris copy

Ooops, that's not The Gert! All Hail, Brando!

Ooops, that’s not The Gert! All Hail, Brando as Mark Antony!











» Read the rest of this entry «

GertrudeandAlice – Summer Sans the City

June 24th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m writing this in London a few days after the official beginning of summer on the calendar. (London was a city Gertrude didn’t particularly like though GertrudeandAlice crossed the Channel several times for various visits and lectures.)

For almost 20 years, summer for GertrudeandAlice meant packing up the Paris apartment to head to their country place in Bilignin. The village was in the heart of foodie heaven in one direction, as it was not far from Lyon, one of France’s gastronomic centers, and the grandeur of the Swiss Alps in the other direction.

a birds-eye view of the house and gardens at Bilignin

a birds-eye view of the house and gardens at Bilignin

» Read the rest of this entry «

Wrapping Up the Lecture Tour. A Key Mystery Solved. Alice’s Birthday.

April 30th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

As mentioned in the previous two posts, it has been eighty years since GertrudeandAlice returned to the U.S. for Gertrude’s headline-getting lecture tour.

The tour wrapped up in April of 1935 and in that final month,  GertrudeandAlice returned to California. Gertrude had turned her back on the Golden Gate in 1893 and Alice had last trekked the earthquake-rubble strewn hills of San Francisco in 1907.

Alice a bit droopy, Gertrude still smiling!

Alice a bit droopy, Gertrude still smiling!

In a nutshell, here is their April itinerary:

» Read the rest of this entry «

Toklas Tweets: Miss A.B. Toklas @backintheusofa

January 14th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

At last, 140 characters or less to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Gertrude Stein’s jubilant 1934-35,  U. S. lecture tour.  But not just any words, but tweets from Alice, based in fact. (All dates are accurate. Twitter address and tweets, liberties taken!)

22. Oct 1934

SS Champlain grande experience. Food wonderful, seas calm and we both a bit nervous about seeing the Old Country again after 30 years.



» Read the rest of this entry «

60 Years Ago: A Cookbook That Hit New Highs !

November 1st, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

In November 1954,  the first edition of The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book hit bookstores in the U.S. and U.K.  Since then it has never been out of print. Here is my tribute to this culinary classic in the online magazine scene4.



ABT  copy

copyright 2014 S. Maude Thornton


Pack Those Trunks and All Aboard for the 1934-35 U. S. Lecture Tour

September 9th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Eighty years ago this month, 27 rue de Fleurus was busy, busy, busy!  New suits, new gowns, new gloves, new handbags, new hats all had to be made or purchased under the watchful eye of Alice, the stylist!


In a few short weeks, GertrudeandAlice would be returning to the U.S. of A. for the first time in 30 years for Gertrude and 27 years for Alice.  They would crisscross America, coast to coast to coast for 191 days visiting 37 cities in 23 states. Gertrude would present 74 lectures and be interviewed for radio programs and newspapers and magazines. GertrudeandAlice would eat and drink and schmooze, always under the curious and watchful eyes of the media.

"Lovey, I'll take the berth under the porthole."

“Lovey, I’ll take the berth under the porthole.”

In the next 6 months, from time to time I will be posting overviews of their activities.


I’ll take a look at who they met, what they did, what they ate, what they and their contemporaries thought about this visit and what was going on around them both in the U.S. and other parts of the world.  Once we reach the week of May 4th, we may all be as exhausted and over-stimulated as they undoubtedly were.  Hopefully, however, the journey will have been worth it.

In the early 1960s, there was, for a short time, a television program in the U.S. imported from the U.K. called “That Was The Week That Was.”


The show was a satirical look at the week’s news presented in short skits and songs.  There will be no skits and songs as we relive the 1934-35 GertrudeandAlice U.S. lecture tour, but it should be an enjoyable and informative journey into “Those Were The Weeks That Were,” eighty years ago.


Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Historic facts category at Questions and Answers.