Library holdings of Robert Louis Stevenson Works


George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland

Letters from Stevenson (including 106 of his letters to Mrs Sitwell, also letters to Henley; letters to Blackwoods); letters to and from Baxter, Henley and others relating to the quarrel with Henley; S’s ‘Notebook T’; materials collected by Graham Balfour when preparing the first biography; juvenilia and essays; Stevenson’s copies (then presented to his parents) of Virginibus Puerisque and Underwoods with notes (65 in all) on where he wrote each essay and poem; the copper plate of the Treasure Island map prepared for the Edinburgh Edition (1895); photographs (Gorrie collection). Also papers of the Stevenson family (not listed here).

Literary Manuscripts:

Acc. 10356: ‘The History of Moses’ (signed ‘R. L. B. Stevenzon’, composed at the age of 6, dictated to his mother, signed, with childish drawings, incl. watercolour picture of ‘Moses writing the 5 tables’ – sitting at a table looking towards God, just appearing over a tall altar – on cut-up mourning paper); same item also incl. early photo of ‘Cummy and RLS’ and prize ‘Happy Sunday Book of Printed pictures’; also copy of privately printed edition of the MS by A. Edward Newton (1919), and a note by Newton on his acquisition of the MS.

Acc.4534/153: ‘Intermittent Lights’ (Records of the Royal Scottish Society of Arts, 1871)

Acc. 9690: ‘Students Meeting and Class Excursion’ (3 pp; account of an end-of-year party of the Engineering students and a class excursion the following day (April 1871))

MS 3794: ‘Story of a Recluse’ (unfinished story, 7 ff.)

Adv MSS 20 55 8: Graduation thesis in jurisprudence

F.5.d.20: Deacon Brodie (printed volume with annotations by Henley and (probably) Stevenson)

MS 3112: ‘Random Memories: an Onlooker in Hell’ (ff. 305-7; and typed transcript ff. 308-311)

MS 9892: ‘Definition of Good Literature’ (1 f. of notes) in Balfour’s Notebook (ff. 18-19).

MS 19640: on ‘Pain and Pleasure’ 1 f. of notes (with a copy of ‘Memory and Portraits’)

Av. MSS 26.8.2: ‘a few pages’ of ‘Diogenes at rhe Saville Club’ are filed among these Letters to Henley (Mehew, Letters 3: 240n)


RB.s.1919 (and Mf.Pres.121(1)): copy of Virginibus Puerisque with RLS’s annotations of place and date of composition

RB.s.1918 (and Mf.Pres.121(2)): copy of Underwoods with RLS-s annotations of place and date of composition.


MS 19637: Notebook T (?1883), 12 ff with 11 ff at the back. Side without labels (originally the back): f.3 drawing-room scene; f.4 drinking scene; f.4v notes for Black Arrow; f.5 list of character names for BA; f.6 map of BA; f.7 ch titles 1-8, 1-16; f.8 ch titles for BA 17-19, 11-24; f.9 calculations of pages for a vol of stories Otto, Lie, Thrawn, Will, MM and (added after) Franchard. Back (side with labels): f.1 tavern scene; f.4 drinking scene. At both front and back, poems of moral-emblems type.

MS 9822: ‘Civil Law’ c. 1874, with caricatures and scraps of verse

MS 9904: ‘Notebook R’, lecture notes on hydrostatics and electricity (P.G. Tait’s natural philosophy course 1867-8; date at the back: Monday March 2nd; p. 44, list of 11 plays, beginning ‘Edmund Fuller Tragedy in five acts’; p. 40 ff. draft of Act II, sc. iii of one of these (‘The Brothers’, a comedy about ‘a discovered will’); p. 17, map of an island with a bay and small island within it.

Acc. 10650: Notebook, including drafts of ‘The Spaewife’ c. 1881.

Acc. 11069: mfilm of notebook c. 1886 [no further info]


MS 9892: (i) misc.notes (1 f.); (ii) misc. articles by RLS, incl. ‘Confessions of a Unionist’ (written 1887; 4 galley slips); page proofs on Hawaii prepared by Colvin for ‘In the South Seas’ in the Edinburgh Edition but not included (13 ff.).


MS 3790 (‘What can I wish’ frag, f.1), 3793 (‘Farewell to the farm’), 9821, 8790 (‘The Iron Steed’, 1875), 8791, 9754 (poem concerning RLS, f. 146), Acc 8842 (‘Youth and Love’), Acc 11145 (‘miscellaneous nonsense verse and English translations of’)


MS 99: 102 letters to Mrs Sitwell

MS 19638 (with a copy of Treasure Island)’

MS 19369 (with a copy of ‘Lay Morals’)

MS 19640 (with ‘Memories and Portraits’ and a note by S on ‘Pain and pleasure’)

MS 19641, 19642 (with a copy of ‘Underwoods’, undated letters from S about early publications)

MS 3788-9, 3792

Adv. MSS 26.8.1 (to Baxter and Henley about the Henley quarrel, 78 ff.)

Av. MSS 26.8.2 (letters to Henley, 315 ff.)

Adv. MSS 26.8.3-5 (letters to Mrs Sitwell), includes Adv MSS 26.8.3 ‘Note (1875)’ in the catalogue (brief letter to Mrs Sitwell announcing that he’s passed the advocate’s exam)

Adv. MSS 19.1.32 (letter 1871)

Also MS 4366, 4382, 4493: to Blackwoods the publishers MSS

MS 2522, 3364, 3278, 8790, 8791, 9821 (includes proof of Davos woodcut), 9828, 9755, 9983, 9891 (letters to and from RLS, mainly from Samoa), 10135, 10091

Letters and notes concerning: MS 170, 1044, 3355, 6295, 9786, 9862, 10790.


MS 9756: incl. large print of crew of the HMS Katoomba

MS 9907: photographs 1889, 1892-4, 1915, 1923, 1944, n.d., mainly of RLS and family (also S. Seas photos, incl. King Tembomuk)

MS 9908: album of photographs, n.d., views of Vailima, Visit of HMS Katoomba, Mataafa and his warriors

MS 9910: ff. 109, 112, 118, 136-7, 142

Adv MS 21.6.10: photos inllustrating the life of RLS

GRH.9 [3292]: The Gorrie collection of photographs

The Notes and Papers of Sir Graham Balfour, Stevenson’s first biographer:

Acc. 9700, 1. diary of a visit to the USA, 2. letters 1891-2, trip to Hawaii, 3. ‘1892-3’ diary notes on Life at Vailima Aug-Nov 1892, trip to Fiji, Tonga etc., return to Samoa, life at Vailima Apr-Sept 1893, return to London via USA, 4. ‘Samoa 1894’, diary notes of journey from London, March-June 1894, life at Vailima June-Oct 1894, commonplaces and leaves written 1893, 5. ‘Diary Oct. 1894 – Feb. 1895’, 6. ‘Diary 1895-6’, 7. ‘Copies of my correspondence, Aug. – Dec. 1895 relating to the publication of Louis’ posthumous works. No value now’, 8. photos of RLS and others.

MS 9891 (bound in a large volume 9891-3 of collected documents) copies of letters by RLS and originals of letters to GB from Belle, from Baxter (about RLS’s difficult financial position in 1894), a letter from RAMS to Fanny, letter from Nellie Sanchez to Fanny

MS 9892 1. misc. notes (f.1), 2. misc. articles by S, incl. 4 galley slips of ‘Confessions of a Unionist’ (wtn. 1887) (see Swearingen p. 122); notes incl. transcription of ‘Definition of good literature’ (f. 12) – a one-page outline (‘Stevenson wrote a word or two under several headings of order, material, pattern, adornment of images and manner of treating a subject’, Swearingen p. 173). Below Stevenson’s notes Balfour wrote: ‘These holograph notes were written down probably in the autumn of 92, and were brought home by me among some waste paper in Sept ‘93’).

MS 9893, (i) extracts from magazines of articles by RLS 1884, n.d. (f. 1); (ii) transcripts and printed texts 1883-4, n.d., of misc. writings of S (44 ff.).

MS 9894 Correspondence 1884-1899; incl. letters answering Balfour’s questions about Stevenson in preparation for his biography); see also MS 9900. [Note: it may be here that we find “Fanny’s comments on fragments of Balfour’s typescript for the biography (Note: ‘There was never any attempt to suppress matter nor to modify statements. The abbreviations were practically all on points of style.’); also comments by LO.”

MS 9895 Correspondence 1900-11 (sometimes called ‘Balfour Biography Notebook’), incl. many letters from those who knew S; also letters 1900-15 relative to the quarrel between Mr and Mrs Lloyd Osbourne and the latter’s demand of restitution of letters from S, allegedly given to Mrs. K. Osbourne by Jane Whytt Balfour.

MS 9896, Correspondence and other materials 1914-1949, incl. newspaper and magazine clippings (showing growing reaction to ‘the Stevenson myth’); 1922-49 correspondence about the authenticity of The Hanging Judge.

MS 9897, (i) unpublished articles by Balfour, (ii) transcripts of articles about S, (ii) miscellaneous notes, including transcription of diaries 1851-3 of S’s mother;

MS 9898, ‘Guardbook’: copies and extracts of S’s letters (mainly to his mother)

MS 9899, ‘Guardbook’: typescript of S papers transcribed while on loan from FVdGS

MS 9900, Notebook 1895: transcriptions of S’s poems and prose; many letters to Baxter (‘These fragments & letters were transcribed by me from the original M.S.S. brought home by me from San Francisco. Graham Balfour. Oct. 1895’)

MS 9901, Balfour Notebook 1896: transcripts of essays by S and letters written to him (‘Transcribed by me from the originals for my private satisfaction. The originals were sent in my care by Mrs Stevenson in Aug 1895 for Sidney Colvin’s use in writing the Life. There was a big long box full of papers heaped together, which I sorted and arranged for Colvin in the winter of 1895-6 at Bendarroch, Ottery St. Mary’). Includes transcript of the unpublished 15-page fragment ‘On the art of literature’ (MS Silverado).

MS 9902 ‘Fragments of Stevenson’: transcripts of miscellaneous writings of S, incl. (p. 1 ‘Companion to the Cook Book’, p. 11 ‘The Ideal House’, p. 17 ‘A Reading Book’ (list of books).

MS 9903, ‘Notebook used in writing Life of R.L.S. in 1900-01 with many extracts from letters, M.S. etc.’, with alphabetic index at the front; short quotations and calendars of S’s movements and writings

MS 9904 See under Stevenson’s ‘Notebooks’ above

MS 9905 cuttings (1890 – ?) concerning Stevenson and his works;

MS 9906 cuttings (1886 – 1937) about people and places associated with Stevenson;

MS 9909: scrapbook of newspaper cuttings 1894, 1904, 1927, n.d. about the South Seas

MS 9910: copy of ‘South Sea Bubbles’ by Earl of Pembroke and George Kingsley (1874); note dated 1929 by GB about dispute between S and Lord Pembroke about Queen Moe.

MS 9911, copy of Tr Is, partly collated by Balfour with Young Folks versions

MS 9912, typescript of an unpublished play ‘The Dust of Defeat’ by Lloyd Osbourne

Balfour’s transcriptions of writings by Stevenson (MS 9897-9901) include the draft of an essay on ‘Boer Independence’, referred to as ‘Balfour papers’ (Box 1, ms. 140) in Colley’s RLS and the Colonial Imagination p. 142 (Swearingen locates the Ms in Yale) and Balfour’s transcription of the MS of ‘[Stevenson’s] Companion to the Cook Book’

The Balfour family:

GD69: Papers connected with the Balfours of Pilrig; comprises legal documents deposited by Mrs Balfour Gedded from the 18t Century to the late 19th, including the marriage contracts of Willie and Henrietta Traquair who ‘in a garden green with me were king and queen…..’.

GD126 is from the Balfour-Melvilles mostly concerning Strathkinness, their estate in Fife.

GD192 is a miscellaneous collection from a Balfour-Melville descendent a Col. Davey, with many letters relating to the relationships of Margaret Stevenson’s aunts etc., who were the elders who watched the children in the garden of RLS’s infancy


Their website also has a ‘Digital Library’ section devoted to Robert Louis Stevenson with photos, illustrations etc.

Catalogues & Online Resources (i) Online catalogues Main catalogue (NLS collection); or (ii) Additional Online Resources (a)Scottish Bibliographies online (bibliographical database of works dealing with Scotland &c., 1987- ) (b) BOSLIT (Bibliography of Scottish Literature in Translation) – here, if a search under ‘title’ doesn’t work, try a ‘keyword’ search in the Advanced Search option.