City Books and Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation will host “Gertrude Stein Day” on Saturday, February 3, in honor of the writer’s 150th birthday. The event will take place from 12:00 to 4:00 PM at the shop located at 908 Galveston Ave on the Northside. During the event, Councilman Bobby Wilson will present the City of Pittsburgh’s “Gertrude Stein Day” proclamation.
Stein was born in 1874 at 850 Beech Avenue on the Northside, halfway between the current locations of City Books and Hugh Lane Wellness Foundation, a service organization founded in 2017 to improve the health of the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities.
Gertrude Stein was an open and unapologetic lesbian despite living in Nazi-occupied France. Stein was a central figure in the early-20th-century Parisian expatriate community, known as the “Lost Generation.” Her literary works, including the famous novel “Three Lives,” and her avant-garde poetry, have contributed to her recognition in literary and artistic circles.
Stein’s life partner was Alice B. Toklas, and the two were a prominent couple in the literary and artistic scene of their time. Stein’s writings and her role as a patron of the arts have made her an influential figure, particularly within LGBTQ history and culture. She was also close friends with Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp and an early collector of the works of Henri Matisse and Paul Cezanne. Stein is retrospectively acknowledged as an important queer figure, and her contributions to literature and art continue to be celebrated.
The event will feature Stein’s work, giveaways, and refreshments while supplies last. Kathleen Dixon Donnelly, author of “Such Friends: The Literary 1920s” and scholar specializing in Gertrude Stein and the Americans in Paris, will lead an informal discussion of the Pittsburgher’s international legacy and a walk to the front of the author’s birthplace, weather permitting.