Founded in 1969 by Norman H. and Charlotte Strouse, the museum has a wide-ranging collection including letters (7 volumes of Fanny’s letters, some of Stevenson’s childhood letters, the galley proofs of Colvin’s 1899 edition of the Letters); manuscripts (including Lloyd Osbourne’s Casco diary; 38 poems and verse fragments; notebooks and notebook pages; a page of the draft of Jekyll and Hyde and a page of the final manuscript; ‘Note’ to The Master of Ballantrae; ‘A Mountain Town in France’; notebook with ‘On the Art of Literature’; version of ‘Lay Morals’; Notes on Niue (Savage Island, Janet Nichol cruise 1890); single leaf containing part of ch 6 of Weir of Hermiston; Sam Osbourne’s 1876 scrapbook with many of Belle’s drawings of the life of art students in Grez and Paris); photocopies of the Monterey Scrapbooks; first editions; paintings (including works by Fanny Stevenson and Joe Strong), sculptures, photographs; his marriage license and wedding ring and other memorabilia (including RLS’s lead soldiers and the desk at which he worked) and over a hundred books from his library in Samoa (including the Hokusai books he bought with his payment for Treasure Island).
Unfortunately there is no public catalogue at the moment, though one is being compiled. In the meantime, contact the Director for information.
The docents of the Silverado Museum compiled Treasured Recipes (St Helena, CA: Robert Louis Stevenson Silverado Museum, 2003). The book contains some of Fanny Stevenson’s own recipes, as well as more modern recipes contributed by Stevenson enthusiasts. Edmond Reynolds writes of the book:
“Fanny Stevenson liked to think of herself as a Gypsy. Her background aptly fed the role. Raised on a farm, first married to and adventurer and court reporter and, then, to a penniless writer, she became adept a managing varied challenging environments. Later, when her writer husband, Robert Louis Stevenson, met with success, she became the lady of the manor. Further along the way, Fanny was overseer of a tropical plantation in Samoa!
Lean as he was, Louis was well fed. His wife compared him to an asparagus, a favorite vegetable. Being a creative cook, she kept up productive fruit, vegetable and herb gardens and thought up recipes to meet any occasion. She prided herself on being a good cook if not a fancy one.
In respectful remembrance, this little book offers these good, if not overly fanciful, recipes. They range from those with a gypsy flair, to those of the manor born.”