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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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Session:         Page of 1029

that I suggested that she and Miss Toklas come over to America because there would be tremendous publicity, and we were doing then her next important book, which was called Portraits and Prayers. We wanted to make a big fuss over it--and her! She decided to come. I promised we'd get her enough assignments to pay all her expenses. Carl Van Vechten and I went down to meet her at the dock, and she and Miss Toklas disembarked. Well, it was a front-page story. We never expected this. But there wasn't much happening at that time. The sensational Dillinger case was already settled. He had been murdered. He was out of the papers. It was a dull period, so the papers thought this might be an unusual feature story, and they all sent down their cleverest reporters to meet Gertrude Stein, whose writings were a great joke at that time--you know, a rose is a rose is a rose. Gertrude proceeded to handle this bunch of fresh photographers and newsmen as the master she was. She was the publicity hound of the world--was simply great. She could have been a tremendous hit in show business. They wrote funny stories about her, but they were interlocked with love and admiration, because she was a great woman--a woman of authority. When she talked she talked as plainly as a banker. She knew what she was talking about, and all the incomprehensible mish-mash only appeared in her stories. The press met a very direct, brilliant woman. We took her to the Algonquin and then she began telling me all the people she wanted to meet. She just took me over. The two or three weeks she was in New York I was her slave. She ordered me around like a little errand boy.





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