Robert Louis Stevenson

(Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson)

1850 - 1894

Robert Louis Stevenson, in his later years
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Robert Louis Stevenson, in his later years

Author and literary critic. Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, into the noted dynasty of lighthouse builders. His maternal grand-father was the parish minister at Colinton. Intent on continuing the family 'business', Stevenson briefly studied engineering at the University of Edinburgh, before transferring to read law. Stevenson graduated and became an advocate in 1875. Plagued by ill-health, Stevenson left Scotland for a warmer climate. Travelling in Europe allowed him to develop his writing skills. On this tour he met Fanny Osbourne, who he accompanied to America and married in 1880. Stevenson's works included Treasure Island (1883), Kidnapped (1886), The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1888). He also wrote of his travels.

Peculiarly, Stevenson had given away his birthday. Having felt sorry for the young daughter of an American administrator in Samoa, who was born on Christmas Day, Stevenson bequeathed her his birthday on the basis that when she had no further need for it that it should pass to the President of the United States, which indeed in due course it did.

Stevenson died on his estate in Samoa. His image appeared on a commemorative banknote issued by the Royal Bank of Scotland in 1994

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