Book History

Author: Alice B. Toklas
Alice Toklas was born in 1877 to middle class Jewish parents in southern California. She split her time growing up between San Fransisco and Seattle, Washington. After graduation she attended college at the University of Washington, where she studied music. In 1907 at age 30 she met Gertrude Stein through mutual friends for the first time, while Toklas was visiting in Paris. The two hit it off immediately and Toklas decided to stay in Europe, eventually moving in to Stein’s home on the rue de Fleurus. From then until the end of Stein’s like Toklas was her faithful companion and partner in the running of her world famous salon. Toklas was daily in the company of famous artists, writers and philosophers and became an active member of the Paris avant-garde scene. When Stein passed away in 1946 Toklas considered her own life to be over, however she lived on for many years. She died nearly penniless after loosing everything she and Stein and built and being too sentimental to save the possessions she still had.
Bibliographic Information
This book was published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston in 1963. The binding is all held together with glue. This book was published before the advent of the laser printer and was thus produced with type-face. The paper is made from modern wood pulp.
Physical Description
This is a hardcover book. The cover of this book is made from cardboard covered with a grayish- green cloth, the front cover features a series of purple squares that match the book jacket, the book jacket is taupe with purple embellishes and font. The back of the jacket features a sketch of the author herself. The book is 5 ½”x8”, perfectly fit for any bookshelf.
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart and Winston
Holt, Rinehart and Winston was a short lived subsidiary of Harcourt. It eventually became Holt Mcdougal and now only publishes text books.
This original printing exists in over a thousand libraries all across the world and who knows on how many personal shelves. It sells online of as little as 20 dollars. There have been many printings of this book in the years since Toklas’ death and it now exists in many forms.
Malcolm, Janet. Two Lives. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. Stein, Gertrude. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, 1933. Toklas, Alice B. What is Remembered. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963.
What is Remembered is a classic autobiographical work by the author and long time companion of Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas. The copy that resides in the rare book room at Mary Washington is from the first printing released by the publisher Holt, Rinehart and Winston in 1963. Being a first edition is enough to make the book worthy of preservation but there are several other factors as well. This is the only book written by the author Toklas, even though she had been the subject of many by Stein. It is also notable because the publisher is no longer in existence and did not publish for very long making those that it did produce even rarer. It is also unusual that a publisher in the early 1960’s would have thought the writings of a lesbian would have commercial appeal. The publication of What is Remembered can be seen as a signal of the changing times in which it was published as much as it can be seen as a sentinel of the history it records.

What really makes this book special are the contents of its pages rather than its coverings. Toklas gives the reader a rare and vital look into the daily comings and goings of Steins salon at No. 27 rue de Fleurus. This was the meeting place of many notable members of the “Lost Generation,” a term coined by Stein in that very house. As her partner Toklas was privy to all of the discussion with the various novelists, poets, and painters that came to discuss art and poetry with the woman who was essentially her wife. What is Remembered is a necessary supplement to all of Stein’s own autobiographical works and should not be over looked by the student of her or her time period. The book covers a very important and often overlooked period of history between the two world wars and is quite remarkable for this as well.

Mary Washington’s copy of the first printing of What is Remembered by Alice B. Toklas is a gem that should be protected. It is a book that should reside on the shelves of respected libraries as long as there are libraries to contain them.

Submitted by Mallory Baker
Published: 1963
Call Number: PS3537.T323 Z85