Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) was an American expatriate novelist, playwright, poet, and art collector. She was born outside Pittsburgh, lived in Oakland, California, and then spent the rest of her life in Paris, France, becoming a part of the Parisian avant-garde with her life-partner Alice B. Toklas.
She attended Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts from 1893 to 1897, studying psychology's normal motor automatism (an early predecessor of the concept of "stream of consciousness"), particularly the behavior of humans when participating in intelligent activities such as speaking and writing, topics which would influence her later writings. At Radcliffe she developed a life-long friendship with pen pal Mabel Foote Weeks. From 1897 to 1901, she attended Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, but grew bored of her medical studies and frustrated with the male-dominated field.
By 1902, Stein and her brother Leo Stein moved to London and then Paris in 1903, where Stein eventually met Alice B. Toklas. The Stein siblings became passionate collectors and hosts of turn-of-the-century art and literary salons, respectively. They were a critical, familial unit until Stein and brother Leo eventually disagreed with each other on what was considered art and parted ways in 1913.
From 1909 onward, Stein wrote dozens of works, including novels, poetry, plays, operas, essays, biographies and commentaries on life in Europe and America. She did this with the help of Toklas as her secretary and transcriber, while Stein dictated much of her words to her.
Some of her best known works include Tender Buttons (1914), while her most influential works are considered The Making of Americans (1925), How to Write (1931), and The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933).
Source: Academy of American Poets. "Gertrude Stein." Poets.org. Accessed December 22, 2017. https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/gertrude-stein