It's the birthday of expatriate writer and literary confidant Alica B. Toklas — the partner of Gertrude Stein—born in San Francisco (1877). In 1907, she went to Paris and there she met Stein, whom Toklas described as wearing "a large, round coral brooch, and when she talked &$8230; I thought her voice came from her brooch. It was unlike any other else's voice — a deep, full velvety contralto's, like two voices." She immediately thought Stein was a genius.
The two became lovers and on a trip to Tuscany a few years later, Stein proposed to Toklas. They returned to Paris and moved into 27 rue de Fleurus, dislodging from the apartment Stein's older brother. The place became a social center for various artists and young writers, and Toklas regularly prepared elaborate meals for Picasso, Hemingway, Matisse, and Fitzgerald. She later included some of her recipes and stories in The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook (1954), in which she wrote, "In the menu, there should be a climax and a culmination. Come to it gently. One will suffice."
Stein proposed that Toklas write an autobiography and suggested that it be called "My Life with the Great" or "My Twenty-Five Years with Gertrude Stein." But instead, Stein herself wrote the book she called The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas (1933). In the book, Stein writes in the voice of Alice:
"I am a pretty good housekeeper and a pretty good gardener and a pretty good needlewoman and a pretty good secretary and a pretty good vet for dogs and I have to do them all at once and I found it difficult to add being a pretty good author."