A novelist, playwright, poet, and essayist, Gertrude Stein is remembered as a literary innovator who fearlessly experimented with language in the early twentieth century. In 1897, Gertrude and her brother Leo settled in Baltimore, living at 215 East Biddle Street. The unique environment of Mount Vernon introduced Stein to a variety of people and perspectives that would influence both her literature and her life.
The gossip that filled the parlors of Biddle Street and the affairs that occurred in the bedrooms above reappeared in several of Stein's works. For instance, Wallis Simpson of 212 East Biddle Street, future Duchess of Windsor, inspired Ida, while Stein's own relationship with May Bookstaver and the ensuing love triangle created by Bookstaver's lover, Mabel Haynes, provided the plot for the novel Q.E.D. as well as the story "Melanctha".