Stein was born on February 3, 1874 in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Stein spent the first part of her childhood living in Europe before moving to California at age 6. After finishing her studies, Stein returned to Paris where she would live for majority of her adult life. In Paris, Stein ran a popular salon that was frequented by artists like Picasso, Cézanne, Matisse, and others with whom she became close friends. In 1907, Stein met Alice B. Toklas, and the two were together romantically for the rest of their lives. Stein died in 1946.