Famous writer Gertrude Stein was born on February 3, 1874 in Allegheny, PA and was educated at Radcliffe College and Johns Hopkins medical school. Stein wrote Three Lives, The Making of Americans, and Tender Buttons, all of which were considered difficult for the average reader. She is most famous for her opera Four Saints in Three Acts and The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which was actually an autobiography of Stein herself. With her companion Alice B. Toklas, Stein received the French government's Medaille de la Reconnaissance Francaise for theory work with the American fund for French Wounded in World War I. Gertrude Stein died in Neuilly-ser-Seine, France on July 27, 1946.
Author William Gass was born on July 30, 1924. He joined the Washington University faculty in 1969 and received an endowed chair in 1979. He was deeply concerned with the issues that writers face and was named director of the International Writers Center in 1990. Some of his writings include the novels "Omensetter's Luck" (1966) and "The Tunnel" (1995), and the classic book of short stories "In the Heart of the Heart of the Country." Two of his essay collections earned the National Book Critics Circle Awards for Criticism.