Tag Archives: Expatriates

Celebrating LGBTQ History Month: June 18, Alice B. Toklas

18 Jun

Today I would like to honor and pay tribute to Alice B. Toklas.  TSM followers will remember that we celebrated Toklas’ birthday back in April. Toklas deserves to be celebrated for having the courage to live her life openly as a lesbian.  In 1907, Toklas became an expatriate and moved to Paris.  She and her life-long partner, Gertrude Stein, were together for close to 40 years until Stein’s death.

The Toklas/Steins played host to many artists and literati of the time.  Their famous Salons would include such greats as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Paul Cezanne,  Sherwood Anderson, and the very closeted Thornton Wilder who was having an affair with the writer/pornographer Sam Steward, also a friend and frequent guest of Toklas (Secret Historian, Justin Spring).

Toklas consistently encouraged people to live their lives honestly  and to be their best.  She seems to have been quite the optimist, despite having lived in France during the Nazi occupation.  Toklas published a memoir, The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook.   Perhaps the most famous recipe in the cookbook/autobiography was ”Haschich Fudge,” a mixture of fruit, nuts, spices, and marijuana, often served at her Salons.  I thank Toklas for her courage, wisdom, and her support of many rather famous LGBT people struggling with their own journeys of coming out.

Women’s History: April 30

30 Apr

Happy Birthday, Alice B. Toklas

Happy Birthday, Alice B. Toklas.  Toklas grew up in California and Washington but then became an expatriate and started her life in Paris, France.  Toklas met her future life partner, Gertrude Stein, in Paris. Together, the women would set up a Salon, almost a type of artists colony, attracting such literary giants as Thornton Wilder and Sherwood Anderson (Winesburg Ohio being one of my favorite collection of short stories). The Salon became famous for what would become known as avant garde masters such as, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Paul Cezanne.

While Toklas’ partner is knows as the writer of the family, Toklas, too, was a writer.  Toklas and Stein were together for almost 40 years until Stein’s death. After Toklas lost Stein, she published a memoir, The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook.   Perhaps the most famous recipe in the cookbook/autobiography was “Haschich Fudge,” a mixture of fruit, nuts, spices, and marijuana.

Although Toklas was born a Jew, she later converted to Catholicism.  Upon her death, she was buried next to Stein.

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