STEIN (GERTRUDE) Autograph letter signed, [1908]
Lot 166
STEIN (GERTRUDE) Autograph letter signed, [1908]
Sold for £875 (US$ 1,470) inc. premium
Lot Details
Autograph letter signed ("Gertrude") to her old friend Hortense (Guggenheimer) Moses of Baltimore, and her son Dickey: "Dickey Dickey listen to the words as they tumble off your wise auntie's pen, never, no never when the merry christmas time comes round don't you ever eat too much sweet cake and sweet candy and above all Dickey, and let these words sink well into you, don't ever mix up such sweet cake and sweet candy with salt pickles. Dickey a lady what never tells lies tells you that that's a bad way to do. She did it, her big brother did it, and they both know Dickey, and you can believe a great deal of sweet cake, a great deal of candy and a great many salt pickles makes a combination that makes Hunyadi [mineral water] very necessary. Dickey listen and learn don't you ever never do so", 4 pages, short split at central fold, one inky fingerprint, in very good condition, with original envelope (stamp removed), preserved in a quarter morocco drop-back box, 8vo, 27 Rue de Fleurus, Paris, [27 December 1908]


  • 'DICKEY DICKEY LISTEN TO THE WORDS AS THEY TUMBLE OFF YOUR WISE AUNTIE'S PEN': stream-of-consciousness advice to a child from Gertrude Stein (advice not all that dissimilar to the aperçus to be found six years later in Tender Buttons, such as: 'A steady cake, any steady cake is perfect and not plain, any steady cake has a mounting reason and more than that it has singular crusts. A season of more is a season that is instead. A season of many is not more a season than most').

    Gertrude Stein had moved from Baltimore to Paris, where she established her celebrated salon, in 1902. The letter's recipient, Hortense Guggenheimer, was a cousin of Gertrude's intimate friend the collector Etta Cone of Baltimore, with whom Hortense travelled to Europe at the same time as Gertrude and her brother Leo; indeed, Hortense and Etta arrived in Paris to find that Gertrude and Leo had got there only an hour before. The following year Hortense married Judge Jacob Moses of Baltimore, thereafter becoming active in charitable Jewish organizations, and died in 1918.
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