“There” sculpture, in memory of Gertrude Stein, Oakland, CA ©Author Adventures
Gertrude Stein tribute © Author Adventures

“The only thing that any one wants now is to be free, to be let alone, to live their life as they can, but not to be watched, controlled and scared, no no, not.” –Gertrude Stein

About the Writer

Author, poet, and essayist Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) was a contemporary of several major writers, like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. She was known for counter-culture ideas and creative verse. Among her best known works is a collection of writings entitled Tender Buttons. Read more about her here: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Gertrude-Stein.

Oakland has a population of approximately 383,000, but during Stein’s youth, it was closer to 10,000. Check out today’s Oakland here: https://www.frommers.com/trip-ideas/road-trip.

Her Writing

The writer’s famous quotation about her hometown, “There is no there there,” is often misinterpreted. It has more to do with the expression “you can’t go home again” than a general criticism of Oakland, California.

We did not find much of a “there” left of Stein in Oakland, other than the colorful sculpture tribute entitled “There,” in recognition of her quote.

See an example of Gertrude Stein’s writing at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/51214/a-substance-in-a-cushion.

More Places to Visit

Gertrude Stein left the US to live much of her adult life in France. Because of that, very little remains of her earlier life during the late 1800s and early 1900s in the United States. AuthorAdventures.org profiles many more homes and workplaces connected to her peers, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, due to greater historic preservation efforts applied to them.

Visit our state pages in Alabama, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, and South Carolina for information about numerous places that are open to the public and are connected to F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway.

This outdoor shopping mall is the sixth stop on our Northern California Auhor Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart