Tender Buttons, Gertrude Stein's fragmented rendering of familiar objects
recreated in the cubist mode, was her first independently published work,
following her self-published Three Lives (1909) and Portrait of Mabel
Dodge at the Villa Curonia (1912). Carl Van Vechten, Stein's loyal
supporter from the time of their first meeting in 1913 until his death in 1964,
had recommended that she offer Tender Buttons to his friend Donald Evans.
He had just started his own press, named for Claire-Marie Burke, and issued the
following in an advertising brochure: "Claire Marie believes there are in
America seven hundred civilized people. Claire Marie publishes books for
civilized people only. Claire Marie's aim, it follows from the premises, is not
even secondarily commercial."