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Gertrude Stein

PennSound Stein page Editor: Ulla Dydo

The Speech Lab Recordings, recorded on January 30, 1935 at Columbia University

Collection editor: Chris Mustazza

These recordings of Stein were made by Columbia Professor of English and Comparative Literature George W. Hibbitt for a record produced by the National Council of Teachers of English, to be distributed to schools on a subscription basis. This series is known as The Contemporary Poets Series, which was started with the recording of Vachel Lindsay by Hibbitt's colleague W. Cabell Greet in 1931. For more information on the series, see my essay "Provenance Report". The recordings below this collection, from Caedmon record TC 1050, originate from these recordings.

The original recordings were made on aluminum records and were subsequently dubbed to reel-to-reel tapes by the Library of Congress. These digitizations are made from the reels, which are stored at Columbia University. --Chris Mustazza, University of Pennsylvania

PennSound wishes to thank the staff at Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library, especially Thai Jones, Jennifer Lee, Karla Nielsen, and Jane Siegel, for helping us to make these recordings available.

A Description of the Fifteenth of November. A Portrait of T.S. Eliot (3:33)
A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson (2:40)
Christian Bérard (0:50)
Comments on the Speech Lab Recordings (0:17)
From The Making of Americans: Matisse (3:12)
If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso, Comments and Fragment (0:49)
If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso (4:24)
How She Bowed to Her Brother (2:20)
George Hugnet (1:55)

LP cover painted by Richard Baker (2012)
Working notes by Ulla Dydo

The Making Of Americans
Written 1903 - 1911. Only very early notes were written in 1903 in New York; basically the novel was rewritten and rewritten in Europe. 
The Making of Americans: Parts 1 & 2 (5:38), recorded in New York, Winter 1934-35

Written in Paris, early 1911
Matisse (2:47), New York, Recorded in New York, Winter 1934-35

A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson
Written in Paris, 1922
A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson (3:46), Recorded in New York, Winter 1934-35

If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso: Text, Audio with Text
Written late Aug. 1923 in Nice / Antibes, where S & T went to see Picasso. Picasso returned to Paris early September, but Stein, working steadily, stayed on for 3 full months, far longer than her usual, short visits.
If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso (3:42), recorded in New York, Winter 1934-35

The Fifteenth Of November . . . T. S. Eliot
Written Paris, fall 1924, perhaps upon Eliot's visit to rue de Fleurus.
MP3 (3:16)

Portrait of Christian Bérard
Written December  1928 in Paris, in appreciation of Bérard's portrait of Stein that was to become the frontispiece of the first 100 signed copies of DIX PORTRAITS.
Portrait of Christian Bérard (0:49)

Madame Recamier. An Opera.
Written in Biligmin, September 1930. Only a very short excerpt of this long text is included in the record. perhaps for lack of (recording) space. It's unfortunate, for this short excerpt in no way represents the libretto.
Madame Recamier: An Opera (3:25), Recorded in New York, Winter 1934-35

How She Bowed To Her Brother
Written in Paris, late 1931. Title used here (with "How") is in ms and in opening sentence; other publications leave out the "how."
How She Bowed To Her Brother (2:18)

Interview 1934 (1:19).
Probably the Interview at the Algonquin Hotel, November 1934, upon Stein's arrival.

1947 Columbia Broadcast Recording of Four Saints in Three Acts
Composed by Virgil Thompson

  1. Act One (35:13): MP3
  2. Act Two (20:06): MP3
  3. Act Three (33:31): MP3

Courtesy John Whiting
Full Text
See also a clip from the first production with sets by Florinne Stettheimer. 

Tender Buttons at 100 Celebration, Kelly Writers House, October 1, 2014

  1. Laynie Browne (9:18): MP3
  2. Lee Ann Brown (10:04): MP3
  3. Angela Carr (6:55): MP3
  4. Rachel Blau DuPlessis (7:56): MP3
  5. Ryan Eckes (4:25): MP3
  6. Jason Mitchell (4:44): MP3
  7. Sueyeun Juliette Lee (4:25): MP3
  8. Charles Bernstein (15:26): MP3
Complete recording (1:07:34): MP3

PoemTalk Podcast #10, discussing Stein's "Portrait of Christian Bernard," September 8, 2008

Listen to the complete recording and read program notes for the episode at Jacket2.

see also: "A Little Bit of a Tumblr," inspired by Stein's Tender Buttons

Gertrude Stein on PennSound Daily

These sound recordings are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights to this recorded material belong to the Estate of Gertrude Stein. © 2005 Estate of Gertrude Stein. Used with permission of Estate of Gertrude Stein, through its Literary Executor, Mr. Stanford Gann, Jr. of Levin & Gann, P.A.. Distributed by PennSound.