A Robert Louis Stevenson Timeline (Nov. 13th 1850 - Dec. 3rd 1894)

Courtesy of RLS Collection, Gen. Collection, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Courtesy of The Writers’ Museum (The Edinburgh Museums Service)

Courtesy of The Writers’ Museum (The Edinburgh Museums Service)

Courtesy of The Writers’ Museum (The Edinburgh Museums Service)

Courtesy of Capital Collections

Courtesy of The Writers’ Museum (The Edinburgh Museums Service)

Courtesy of The Writers’ Museum (The Edinburgh Museums Service)

Courtesy of The Writers’ Museum (The Edinburgh Museums Service)

Image drawn by Fanny Osbourne (later Stevenson). From The Life of Robert Louis Stevenson by Graham Balfour (London: Methuen & Co, 1901), vol 1

Courtesy of The Writers’ Museum (The Edinburgh Museums Service)

Courtesy of The Writers’ Museum (The Edinburgh Museums Service)

Courtesy of The Writers’ Museum (The Edinburgh Museums Service)

  • 1850

    November

    13: Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson [from about 1868: Robert Louis Balfour; from about 1873: Robert Louis] born at 8 Howard Place, Edinburgh

  • 1851

    January

    Family move to 1 (now 9) Inverleith Terrace, Edinburgh

    December

    13: Baptized

  • 1852

    May

    Alison Cunningham (“Cummy”) becomes RLS’s nurse (remaining in the household until 14 November 1872)

  • 1856

    November

    13: Receives a toy theatre as birthday present from his uncle and aunt, David and Jane Stevenson.

    November-December

    Dictates “The History of Moses” to his mother

  • 1857

    May

    Family move to 17 Heriot Row, Edinburgh

    September

    30: Goes to school for the first time: Mr Henderson’s Preparatory School, India Street (attends a few weeks because of poor health)

  • 1859

    June

    14: Three-week holiday with his parents (till 6 July): Bridge of Allan, Perth and Dundee

    October

    Returns to Mr Henderson’s Preparatory School, India Street

  • 1861

    October

    1: Starts attending Edinburgh Academy (for 15 months)

  • 1862

    July

    RLS and parents visit Bad Homburg vor der Höhe (then Homburg), the capital of Hesse-Homburg, Germany. The family stayed in Homburg from 11 July – 8 August 1862 for a health cure for Mr Stevenson. From 1-11 July 1862, the family made their way to Homburg, traveling via Peterborough, London, Dover, Brussels, Koblenz, and Frankfurt to Homburg. Their return journey took from 9-16 August 1862. The Stevensons travelled via Heidelberg, Wiesbaden, Koblenz, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Amsterdam, The Hague and Ostend to Edinburgh

  • 1863

    January

    3: Start of five-month tour of Europe with his parents and Cummy; two months in Mentone in the south of France, then to Genoa, Naples, Rome, Florence, Venice, Innsbruck.

    May

    29: Returns to Edinburgh

    August

    28: – Thomas Stevenson takes RLS to the Burlington Lodge Academy, Spring Grove, Isleworth (for one term only)

    December

    19: Leaves Burlington Lodge Academy; stays in London with his father
    20: Leaves for Mentone with his father; stays in Mentone three months with his mother (who had been there all autumn)

  • 1864

    May

    31: Goes to Colinton Farm (Ramsay Traquair family) with his mother (for a month)

    June

    6-9: Returns briefly to 17 Heriot Row, Edinburgh
    10: Back in Colinton with his mother till the end of June

    October

    3: Starts school at Robert Thomson’s private school in Frederick Street (until 1867)

  • 1865

    May

    16: Arrives in Torquay with his mother

  • 1866

    November

    28: Date on (untraced) manuscript of The Pentland Rising, published (Edinburgh: Andrew Eliot) at RLS’s father’s expense in November 1866

  • 1867

    November

    Starts studying at Edinburgh University

  • 1868

    July

    1-31: At Anstruther, as part of training for lighthouse engineering

    August – October

    27: At Wick (until 6 October), as part of training for lighthouse engineering

  • 1869

    February

    16: Elected to Speculative Society

    March

    2: Attends first meeting of the Speculative Society

    June

    14-29: With father on the yacht Pharos, visiting Orkney and Shetland (described in “The Education of an Engineer” [1888])

  • 1870

    August

    1: Leaves for Erraid and stays there for three weeks as part of training for lighthouse engineering

  • 1871

    November

    Begins studying law at Edinburgh University

  • 1873

    January

    31: Announces to his father that he doesn’t believe in the Christian religion; quarrel

    July and August

    Visits cousin Maud Balfour at Cockfield Rectory, Suffolk (arrives 26 July) and stays until the end of August. Here, he meets Frances Sitwell and Sidney Colvin

    November

    6: Travels to Mentone, France, under doctor’s orders, staying until the end of March 1874

    December

    4: “Roads”, his first paid publication, is published under the name L.S. Stoneven in Portfolio

  • 1874

    April

    Visits Paris
    26: Returns to Edinburgh

    May

    Publishes “Ordered South” in Macmillan’s Magazine

    August

    Publishes “Victor Hugo’s Romances” in Cornhill Magazine

  • 1875

    February

    9: Meets W.E. Henley at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh

    March and April

    29 March – 19 April: Visits Barbizon and Paris with Bob Stevenson

    July

    14: Passes the final examination for the Scottish Bar. End of his studies at Edinburgh University
    16: Called to the Scottish Bar
    26: Travels to London (and then on to France)

    August

    Begins walking tour of the Valley of the Loing with Walter Grindlay Simpson. He later describes the walk in “An Epilogue to An Inland Voyage” (1888)

  • 1876

    January

    8-17: Walking tour of Ayr, Maybole, Girvan, Ballantrae, Stranraer, Glenluce, and Wigton (described in “A Winter’s Walk in Carrick and Galloway” [1896])

    August

    25: At Antwerp. Begins voyage with Walter Simpson (described in An Inland Voyage [1888])

    September

    9: At Compiègne
    14: At Pontoise; the “inland voyage” terminates; travels to Paris
    Travels to Grez-sur-Loing; meets Mrs Fanny Osbourne

    October

    14: Arrives in Paris
    16: Arrives in Edinburgh
    Writing “Some Portraits by Raeburn” (1881) and “On Falling in Love” (1877)

    November

    Finishes “On Falling in Love” (1877)
    Writing “The Devil on Cramond Sands”
    “Some Portraits by Raeburn” rejected by Cornhill Magazine

    December

    “Charles of Orleans” published in Cornhill Magazine
    16: Arrives in Edinburgh

  • 1877

    January

    Stays in Paris with Fanny

    February

    Publishes “On Falling in Love” in the Cornhill

    October

    “A Lodging for the Night”, his first published short story, appears in Temple Bar

  • 1878

    August

    Fanny returns with her children to her husband, Sam Osbourne, in California

    September-October

    Walking tour of the Cevennes (described in Travels with a Donkey [1879])

    December

    Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes is published

  • 1879

    August

    6: Travels from London to Glasgow
    7: Sails from Greenock on the Devonia, bound for New York; on the journey finishes “The Story of a Lie” (1879)
    17: Arrives in New York; spends the night in a boarding house
    18: Starts train journey from New Jersey
    30: Arrives in Monterey. RLS later writes about the journey to California in The Amateur Emigrant (1895). The first part of The Amateur Emigrant was ready to be published, but was withdrawn in 1880. The second part was published as “Across the Plains” in 1883 – it was later included in Across the Plains (1892).

    October

    “The Story of a Lie” is published in the New Quarterly Review

    December

    12: Fanny divorces Sam Osbourne
    22: Moves to 608 Bush Street, San Francisco (till May 1880)

  • 1880

    March

    c. 15: Moves to the Tubbs Hotel, East Oakland. Has a hemorrhage and is moved to Fanny’s house nearby so that she can nurse him

    April

    Early April: Stevenson’s parents promise him £250 yearly

    May

    19: Marries Fanny Osbourne in San Francisco; stays at Palace Hotel (till 21 or 22 May)
    22: RLS and Fanny set out for their honeymoon at Napa Valley

    June

    9: Arrives at abandoned mining cabin at Silverado with Fanny and Lloyd Osbourne (described in The Silverado Squatters [1884])
    13-25: At Calistoga
    25: Returns to Silverado

    July

    Returns to San Francisco with Fanny and Lloyd
    29: Begins train journey to New York

    August

    17: RLS, Fanny and Lloyd arrive in Liverpool from New York where his parents meet Fanny for the first time

    October

    Advised to winter in Davos, Switzerland for his health

    November

    RLS, Lloyd and Fanny arrive in Davos (stay until April 1881)

  • 1881

    April

    Publication of Virginibus Puerisque

    June

    2: Arrives in Pitlochry (stays until 2 August)

    August

    2: Leaves Pitlochry for Braemar where he stays for almost two months. Here he writes the opening of “The Travelling Companion” (a Doubles story later destroyed) and begins work on The Sea Cook (later to become Treasure Island [1883])
    24: Two chapters of The Sea Cook written

    October

    1: Young Folks magazine begins the serial publication of Treasure Island under the name Captain George North
    18: Arrives Davos where he winters again for his health. He stays until April 1882
    “Thrawn Janet” is published in Cornhill

  • 1882

    This year, RLS summers in various parts of Scotland: Lochearnhead, Ballachulish, Oban, Peebles, Kingussie. He winters in various parts of France: Montpellier, Marseilles, and moves to Nice in January 1883

    February

    Publication of Familiar Studies of Men and Books

    April

    Publication of “Talk and Talkers” in Cornhill

    May

    Publication of “The Foreigner at Home” in Cornhill

    June

    Publication of “The Merry Men” in Cornhill

    July

    Publication of New Arabian Nights

    November

    Publication of “A Gossip on Romance” in Longman’s Magazine

    December

    21: First performance of Deacon Brodie in Bradford

  • 1883

    This year, RLS works on Prince Otto

    March

    22: Moves to Chalet la Solitude, 4 Rue Victor Basch, Hyères (till June 1884)

    April

    Publication of “The Treasure of Franchard” in Longman’s Magazine

    June

    30: Black Arrow, begins to be serialized in Young Folks under the name Captain George North

    September

    9: Death of his friend Walter Ferrier

    November

    14: Publication of Treasure Island in book form
    Publication of “A Note on Realism” in the Magazine of Art

  • 1884

    From 1884-1887 (the Bournemouth years) RLS suffers terrible health and is often unable to leave the house

    January

    Publication of Silverado Squatters

    July

    Moves to Bournemouth where stays until August 1887

    December

    Publication of “A Humble Remonstrance” in Longman’s Magazine

  • 1885

    March

    6: Publication of A Child’s Garden of Verses

    April

    28: Publication of More New Arabian Nights: The Dynamiter (with Fanny)
    Stevenson family move to “Skerryvore” in Bournemouth, a house which Thomas Stevenson bought as a wedding present for Fanny

    September

    Visits Thomas Hardy in Dorchester
    October
    Completes writing Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which he began at the end of September

    November

    1: Publication of Prince Otto

    December

    17: Publication of “Olalla” in Court and Society Review

  • 1886

    January

    9: Publication of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

    May

    1: Kidnapped begins serialization in Young Folks

    July

    16: Publication of Kidnapped in book form

  • 1887

    February

    9: Publication of The Merry Men and Other Tales and Fables

    May

    5: Travelling to Edinburgh with Fanny; they stay overnight in York
    6: Arrives in Edinburgh
    8: Thomas Stevenson dies
    13: Funeral of Thomas Stevenson (RLS too ill to attend)
    Writing “Ticonderoga” (May-June, published 1887)
    Writing “Thomas Stevenson, Civil Engineer” (1887)
    23: Signs contract with Cassells for publication of David Balfour/Catriona (1893)
    31: Leaves Edinburgh for the last time, travels to Bournemouth

    June

    “Thomas Stevenson, Civil Engineer” published in Contemporary Review
    14: Finishes Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin (1888)
    31: Stays with Sidney Colvin in London

    August

    Publication of Underwoods
    20 & 21: Stays at Armfield’s Hotel, Finsbury, says goodbye to friends
    22: Leaves on the S.S. Ludgate Hill bound for New York via Le Havre (which he reaches on 23 August)

    September

    7: Arrives in New York, staying with his family at the Hotel Victoria as the guest of Charles Fairfield
    8: To Newport, guest of Charles Fairfield
    19: Back in New York, at the Hotel St. Stephen (46-52 East 11th Street)
    30: Leaves for Saranac Lake

    October

    3: Arrives at Saranac Lake

    November

    21: Publication of Memories and Portraits

    December

    Publication of “The Misadventures of John Nicholson” in Cassell’s Christmas Annual

  • 1888

    January

    Publication of Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin

    March

    RLS and W.E. Henley quarrel about Fanny’s short story “The Nixie”. Henley accuses Fanny of plagiarizing the story from Katharine de Mattos (RLS’s cousin and Bob Stevenson’s sister). RLS takes Fanny’s side and the friendship between RLS and Henley never fully recovers
    10: Makes a deal with publisher S.S. McClure. He will publish the travel articles RLS writes on his journey in the South Seas
    25: Serialization of The Black Arrow begins in the Philadelphia Press
    26: Fanny leaves for California

    April

    13: Leaves Saranac lake for New York
    16: Arrives in New York, staying at the Hotel St. Stephen

    May

    2: Goes to Manasquan, New Jersey, staying at Union House (an inn) with his mother, where they spend much time with Stevenson’s friend from his French bohemian days, Will Lowe, and his French wife Berthe (who later translated Treasure Island into French in 1890)
    28: Returns to New York

    June

    2: Leaves for California, by train via Chicago and Salt Lake City
    7: Arrives in San Francisco, staying at the Occidental Hotel
    26: Moves on board the Casco
    27: The Casco leaves for a cruise of the Pacific islands, including the Marquesas, the Paumotus and Tahiti. The cruise lasts till 24 January 1889 in Honolulu

  • 1889

    June

    15: Publication of The Wrong Box with Lloyd
    24: Leaves Honolulu on the Equator (cruise lasts till 7 December 1889 in Apia)

    September

    20: Publication of The Master of Ballantrae

    December

    7: The Equator arrives at Apia on the island of Upolo, the largest island of Samoa. RLS and family stay with an American trader, H.J. Moors, Beach Road, Apia
    9: Farewell dinner for the captain and crew of the Equator, Tivoli Hotel

  • 1890

    January

    10: Signs the deed for the purchase of Vailima Estate, Apia, Samoa

    February

    4: Leaves Apia on the Lübeck
    13: Arrives in Sydney (stays at the Union Club)

    April-July

    Leaves Sydney on 11 April on the Janet Nicoll, cruising Aukland, New Zealand, the Tokelau Islands, Cooks Islands, Ellice Islands, Gilbert Islands, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, New Hebrideans and Noumea, amongst other places The cruise finishes on 26 July 1890 in Noumea, New Caledonia.
    May: Publication of Father Damien: An Open Letter to Reverend Doctor Hyde
    27 July: Fanny and Lloyd depart for Sydney, RLS stays in Noumea.

    August

    2: RLS Leaves Noumea
    7: Arrives in Sydney (stays at the Union Club, working on The Wrecker [1892], The Ebb-Tide [1894], Island Nights’ Entertainments [1893] and Ballads [1890])

    September

    During this month, the Stevenson family settle at Vailima
    4: Leaves Sydney for Apia with Fanny on the Lübeck
    15: Arrives in Apia

    December

    Publication of Ballads

  • 1891

    January

    6: Leaves Apia for Sydney on the Lübeck
    20: Arrives in Sydney
    Lloyd and RLS’s mother also join RLS in Sydney.

    February

    6: In the South Seas begins serialization in Black and White
    8: “The Bottle Imp” begins serialization in the New York Herald
    18: Leaves Sydney with his mother on the Lübeck

    March

    1: Returns to Samoa with mother (Lloyd had returned earlier)

    April

    2-13: Sails around the Samoan islands in Nukunona

    May

    16: Margaret Stevenson moves into Vailima

    August

    Serialization of The Wrecker (with Lloyd) begins in Scribner

    November

    7: Finishes writing The Wrecker (with Lloyd)

  • 1892

    In 1892, RLS is increasingly involved in Samoan politics, writing letters to The Times expressing his views on the Samoan situation

    February

    13: Begins writing Catriona (1893)

    April

    6: Publication of Across the Plains

    June

    25: Publication of The Wrecker (with Lloyd)

    July

    2: Serialization of “The Beach of Falesa” begins in Illustrated London News

    August

    6: Graham Balfour arrives at Vailima and stays with the Stevensons for most of the last two and a half years before RLS’s death
    8: Publication of A Footnote to History

    September

    26: Finishes Catriona

  • 1893

    February

    4: “Isle of Voices” begins serialization in National Observer
    18: Leaves Apia on the S.S. Mariposa with Fanny and Belle
    24: Arrives in Auckland
    28: Arrives in Sydney (stays at the Oxford Hotel)

    March

    20: Leaves Sydney on the Mariposa
    30: Returns to Vailima, working on Weir of Hermiston (1896) and The Ebb-Tide (1894)

    April

    6: Publication of Island Nights’ Entertainments

    June

    5: Finishes The Ebb-Tide; sends first ten chapters to Sidney Colvin in London
    18: Sends last two chapters of The Ebb-Tide to Colvin

    July

    9-18: War between the Samoan chiefs Mataafa and Laupepa. Although Mataafa is defeated, RLS supports him

    September

    1: Publication of Catriona
    12: Travels to Honolulu on SS Mariposa. Stays in Sans Souci Hotel, Waikiki

    October

    27: Leaves Hawaii for Samoa

    November

    Returns to Samoa
    11: Serialization of The Ebb-Tide (with Lloyd) begins in Today

  • 1894

    This year RLS works on St Ives (1897) and Weir of Hermiston (1896)

    August

    Publication of “My First Book: Treasure Island” in The Idler

    September

    21: Publication of The Ebb-Tide (with Lloyd)

    October

    7: Feast to celebrate the completion of “The Road of the Loving Heart”. The native political prisoners RLS had supported during the war built this road, connecting Vailima to the public road, to thank him

    November

    13: Feast celebrating RLS’s 44th birthday

    December

    3: Dies of a cerebral hemorrhage
    4: Buried on the summit of Mount Vaea on Upolu, Samoa. The Samoans (led by Lloyd) cleared a path to the top of the mountain overnight in order to be able to bury RLS there

    View Robert Louis Stevenson’s Death Certificate (PDF)