One page, 8vo. Four lines in Toklas's fine, miniscule hand. On her stationary. In fine condition. Item #404255
Alice B. Toklas writes to Drue Parsons anticipating her upcoming visit. Parsons was married to Geoffrey Parsons, chief editorial writer of the New York Herald Tribune from 1924 to 1952. Toklas writes:
“Virgil Thomson has just told me that you were kind enough to say that you would come to see me on Thursday afternoon. It will give me the greatest pleasure to meet you and to see Mr. Parsons again. He will not remember but we met briefly in New York in thirty four.
Until next Thursday then,
Alice B. Toklas was living in Paris in 1952. She went on to publish ‘The Alice B. Toklas Cookbook,’ the first of her two books, in 1954. Toklas had lived with her partner Gertrude Stein in Paris since 1907; Stein died in 1946. Drue Parsons, born Dorothy Blackman, spent her early career in the 1930s as an actress with the stage name Drue Leyton. Leyton joined the resistance movement in France in the 1930s and 40s. It is likely that Toklas and Leyton met, or at least became familiar with each other, in Paris in 1942, when many American women were threatened with internment by the Vichy government. Drue Leyton was incarcerated in the Bois de Boulogne along with Sylvia Beach, the first publisher of Ulysses and a close friend of Stein and Toklas. (Charles Glass, Americans in Paris: Life and Death Under Nazi Occupation, 2011, pp. 82).
The letter refers to Virgil Thomson, composer and prominent music critic. Thomson was music critic for the New York Herald-Tribune from 1940-1954. He and Geoffrey Parsons worked at the magazine together for six of these years. Thomson also composed the score for “Four Saints in Three Acts,” an opera for which Gertrude Stein wrote the libretto. “Four Saints in Three Acts” premiered in 1934, first in Connecticut and then in New York. The encounter with Geoffrey Parsons that Toklas mentions would likely have occurred around the premiere: both Toklas and Stein traveled to the United States to attend.