The Richard Dury Archive – Biographies

Full-length biographies often praised include Balfour 1901, Furnas 1951, Pope-Hennessy 1974, Rankin 1987, Bell 1992, Harman 2005. Short biographies of note include Smith 1938, Daiches 1974 and Mehew 2004. To learn more about the life of RLS you should also read Stevenson’s own letters and autobiographical writings and the anthologies of first-person testimonies: Hammerton 1907, Masson 1922, Terry 1996 and Hubbard 2008.

Thanks to Lachie Munro for help with the original version of this page.

H = Reprinted entirely or in part in A. Hammerton (ed.) (1907). Stevensoniana. An Anecdotal Life and Appreciation of Robert Louis Stevenson. Edinburgh: John Grant.

M = Reprinted entirely or in part in Masson, Rosaline (1922). I Can Remember Robert Louis Stevenson. Edinburgh / London: W. R. Chambers.

T = Reprinted entirely or in part in R. C. Terry (ed.) (1996). Robert Louis Stevenson: Interviews and Recollections. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.

TH = Reprinted in Tom Hubbard (2008). “Robert Louis Stevenson”. In Tom Hubbard, Rikky Rooksby and Edward Wakeling (eds.) Lives of Victorian Literary Figures, Part VI: Carroll, Stevenson and Swinburne by their Contemporaries. 3 vols. Pickering & Chatto.

See also:
Ehrsam, Theodore G. and Robert H. Deily (1936). Bibliographies of Twelve Victorian Authors. New York, H. W. Wilson.

Swearingen, Roger (2000). “Robert Louis Stevenson”. In The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (3rd edition, 2000). Vol. 4: 1800–1900 (ed. Joanne Shattock).

1881 – 1890

Archer, William Robert (1887). “Robert Louis Stevenson at ‘Skerryvore'”. Critic (5 Nov.): 225-27.
[first-hand report of house, and S’s appearance, gestures and conversation]

Anon. (‘One Who Knows Him’). ‘Mr. R. L. Stevenson at Home’. Woman At Home [London] Jan. 1894, 339-46.
[written after Sept visit of Kaoomba crew by a member of the Apia community]


Lowe, Charles (1891). “Robert Louis Stevenson: A Reminiscence”. Bookman (Nov.): 60-61. H, T
[Lowe was a fellow-student at Edinburgh University]

Anon. (1893). “A Chat with Robert Louis Stevenson”. To-day 1 (2 Dec.): 7-8.
[a San Francisco journalist reports on life at Vailima]

Cook, Walter (1893). ‘Some South Sea Reminiscences. (Not by Robert Louis Stevenson)’. West Australian [newspaper] 23 Jan 1893.
[reminiscences of a Pacific sailor; partly reprinted in Catherine Mathews, ‘Charting the Foreigner at Home’. Journal of Stevenson Studies 10 (2013), pp. 92-93]

Anon.(‘one who knows him’) (1894). ‘Mr. R. L. Stevenson at Home’. The Woman at Home (Feb. 1894): 339-46.
[apparently written by a member of the Apia community; describes Vailima; illustrated]

Fraser, Marie [published anonymously] (1893/94). “Robert Louis Stevenson at Vailima, Samoa”. English Illustrated Magazine 11: 768-75.
[illustrated by A. J. Daplyn and Gordon Brown; reprinted in In Fraser 1895]

Fraser, Marie [published anonymously] (1894). “With R. L. Stevenson in Samoa”. Cornhill Magazine ns 23: 27-33.
[describes RLS’s birthday feast in November 1894; reprinted in Fraser 1895]

Osbourne, Lloyd (1894). “A Letter to Mr Stevenson’s Friends”. Apia, Samoa: privately printed.
[account of Stevenon’s death and burial]

Anon. (1895). “The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson”. The Edinburgh Review (July). H
[also contains information about S’s early life in Edinburgh]

Baildon, H. Bellyse (1895). “Some Reminiscences”. Temple Bar (Mar.).
[reprinted in Baildon 1901]

C.H. [probably Clive Holland] (1895). “R.L.S. in an English Home: Memories Mostly Personal”. Black and White (5 January).
[about Skerryvore; see also Hollander 1934]

Churchill, William (1895). “Stevenson in the South Seas”. McClure’s Magazine (Feb.).
[Churchill was a South Seas ethnologist and U.S. consul in Apia from 1896]

Fraser, Marie (1895). In Stevenson’s Samoa. London: Smith, Elder.

Gordon, Alice (1895). “The First Meeting between George Meredith and Robert Louis Stevenson”. Bookman 6 (Jan.): 111-12. T

Gosse, Edmund (1895). “Personal Memories of Robert Louis Stevenson”. The Century 50(3) (July): 273-302. H, TH
[published in revised form in Gosse 1896]

Japp, Alexander (1895). “Robert Louis Stevenson”, Argosy 59 (Feb.): 232.

Jenkins, Anne [signed “J. A.”] (1895). “Robert Louis Stevenson”. Edinburgh Academy Chronicle (Mar.).

Osbourne, Lloyd (1895). “Mr Stevenson’s Home Life at Vailima”. Scribner’s Magazine 18(4) (Oct.): 458-65.

Rensselaer, Mariana Griswold van (1895) “Robert Louis Stevenson and his Writing”. Century Magazine 51 n.s. 29 (Nov): 123-29. T
[reminiscences of RLS in New York in the spring of 1888]

Ross, John A. (1895). “The Early Home Life of Robert Louis Stevenson”. Good Words 36 (Mar.): 181-86.
[about Swanston cottage; inhabitants recall the family]

Triggs, William Henry (1895). “Mr R. L. Stevenson as a Samoan Chief”. Cassell’s Family Magazine 21: 183-87. T

Gosse, Edmund (1896). “Robert Louis Stevenson: Personal Memories”. In Critical Kit-Kats. London: Heinemann. 275-302

Shipman, Louis Evan (1896). “Stevenson’s First Landing in New York”. Book Buyer n.s. 13 (Feb.): 13-15.

Simpson, Eve Blantyre (1896). “R.L.S. – Some Edinburgh Notes”. Chap-Book 2(8) (Mar.): 331-340. Repr. in Essays from the Chap-Book. Chicago: Stone, 1896. 95-208.

Strong, Isobel (1896). “Vailima Table-Talk. Robert Louis Stevenson in his Home Life”. Scribner’s Magazine 19(5, 6) (May, June): 531-549, 736-748.
[Included in Memories of Vailima (1902, pp. 7-74), without the illustrations.]

Black, Margaret Moyes (1898). Robert Louis Stevenson. Edinburgh: Oliphant Anderson & Ferrier (Famous Scots Series).

Colvin, Sidney (1898). “Robert Louis Stevenson”. In Leslie Stephen (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography, vol. 54.

Burgess, Gelett. (1898). “An Interview with Mrs Robert Louis Stevenson”. Bookman (New York) (Sept.). TH

Simpson, Eve Blantyre (1898). Robert Louis Stevenson’s Edinburgh Days. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Balfour, J. Craig and Marie Clothilde Balfour (1899). “Robert Louis Stevenson by Two of His Cousins”. English Illustrated Magazine (May): 121-131. H, TH, T
[memories of childhood games]

Cornford, Leslie Cope (1899). Robert Louis Stevenson. Edinburgh / London: Blackwood. Also New York: Dodd, Mead, 1900.
[acknowledges “the help which Mr Henley has given me in the making of this essay towards a just appreciation of his old comrade”, so possibly contains Henley’s version of events to pre-empt Balfour’s 1901 biography]

Gosse, Edmund (1899). “Stevenson’s Relations with Children”. Chambers Journal 6th ser. 81(2) (July): 449-451.

Strong, Isobel Osbourne (1899). “Stevenson in Samoa”. Century Magazine 58(3) (July). TH

Colvin, Sidney (1900). “Stevenson’s Beginnings”. Academy (10 Mar.): 7.
[letter correcting the version of the first publication of Treasure Island given by Robert Leighton in March 1890; includes a testimony by Japp]

Duncan, William Henry (1900). “Stevenson’s Second Visit to America”. Bookman (New York) 10 (Jan.): 454-64.

Leighton, Robert (1900). “Stevenson’s Beginnings”. Academy (3 Mar.): 189.
[letter about the publication of Treasure Island in Young Folks]

Wallace, William (1900). “The Life and Limitations of Stevenson”. Scottish Review (Jan.): 13-35. TH
[Review of Colvin’s Letters to His Family and Friends (1899), Cornford (1899), Black (1896) and Simpson (1898); overviews his life; identifies “cameraderie” as a leading characteristic and quotes two witnesses on the style of his conversation; the “limitations” concern the lack of good female protagonists and the lack of a major novel]


Baildon, H. Bellyse (1901). Robert Louis Stevenson. A Life Study in Criticism. London: Chatto & Windus. T
[Baildon knew RLS at school and University; ch 2-4 are biographical, taken in part from Baildon 1895]

Balfour Graham (1901). The Life of Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Methuen.
[indispensable source, as Balfour knew Stevenson and his family personally and had access to documents since lost; Henley’s review in The Pall Mall Magazine, Dec. 1901, starts the “debunking” tradition]

Bell, Howard Wilford (1901) “An Unpublished Chapter in the Life of Robert Louis Stevenson” Pall Mall Magazine 24: 267-71 H, TH
[S in Monterey and San Francisco]

Henley, W. E. (1901). “R.L.S.”. Pall Mall Magazine 25 (Dec.): 505-14.

Simpson, Eve Blantyre (1901). “RLS’s ‘Hills of Home” . Chamber’s Journal (1901).

Vailings, Harold (1901). “Stevenson Among the Philistines”. Temple Bar 122 (Feb.): 205-09. T
[Stevenson at Davos.]

Colvin, Sidney (1902). “Stevenson at Hampstead”. Hampstead Annual (Dec.): 144-53.

Morse, Captn. Hiram Gardner. (1902). Robert Louis Stevenson as I Found him In His Island Home. [no publication details]

[the Beinecke catalogue has “[Brooklyn N.Y. : H.G. Morse]” for publication details by former captain of the S.S. Alameda; 20 pp]

Strong, Isobel Osbourne (1902). “In Samoa with Stevenson”. Century Magazine (Mar.).

Strong, Isobel and Lloyd Osbourne (1902). Memories of Vailima. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. London: Archibald Constable., 1903.
[the US edition is 228 pp. with 31 b&w photographs; the UK edition has 151 pp with only an engraved portrait frontispiece]

Gosse, Edmund (1903). “Robert Louis Stevenson”. In Enclyclopedia Britannica (10th edition).

Stoddard, Charles Warren (1903). “Stevenson in the South Seas”. In Exits and Entrances. Boston: Lothrop. 13-37. T
[includes recollections of meetings with RLS in Monterey and San Francisco]

Wallace, William (1902). “Scotland, Stevenson, and Mr Henley”. New Liberal Review (Feb.): 79-86.

Hammerton, John Alexander (1903). Stevensoniana. London: Grant Richards.
[reprints many early biographical memoirs in whole or in part; other similar anthologies are Masson 1922 and Terry 1996; see Hammerton 1907]

Stevenson, Margaret Isabella (ed. Marie Clothilde Balfour) (1903). From Saranac to the Marquesas and Beyond. London: Methuen.
[letters written by S’s mother to her sister Jane Whyte Balfour 1887-8]

Sharp, William (1904). “The Country of Stevenson”. In Literary Geography. London: Pall Mall Press. 20-33. T
[vol. 4 of The Selected Writings of William Sharp; vivid description of Stevenson glimpsed at Waterloo Station; orig. pub. in Sharp’s “Literary Geography” articles in the Pall Mall Magazine in 1903 or 4; online text]

Japp, Alexander Hay (1905). Robert Louis Stevenson: A Record, An Estimate and a Memorial. London: Werner Laurie. T

Johnstone, Arthur (1905). Recollections of Robert Louis Stevenson in the Pacific. London: Chatto & Windus.

Lang, Andrew (1905) “Recollections of Robert Louis Stevenson” In Adventures Among Books. London: Longmans, Green 41-56

Stevenson, Fanny Van de Grift (1905) Registration Prefaces to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Works. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons
[These were then used as prefaces for the “Biographical Edition” published by Scribner’s 1905-1911, and later included in the Tusitala, Skerryvore and South Seas Editions]

Stoddard, Charles Warren (1905). “Stevenson’s Monterey”. National Magazine (Dec.): 69-78.

Hubbard, Elbert (1906). “Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Osbourne”. In Little Journeys to the Home of the Great, Vol. 13. East Aurora, NY: Roycrofters.
[in a monthly series of biographies to make volumes with a special theme; vol. 13 is “Little Journeys to the Home of Great Lovers”, so it may be catalogued in libraries under this title, the Stevenson number is pp. 9-36]

Simpson, Eve Blantyre (1906). Robert Louis Stevenson. Boston / London: John W. Luce. (Spirit of the Age Series, No. 2)
[also found as: Edinburgh & London: T. N. Foulis].

Stevenson, Margaret Isabella (ed. & arranged by Marie Clothilde Balfour) (1906). Letters from Samoa 1891-1895. New York: Charles Scribner’s & Sons.

Hammerton, James Alexander (1907). Stevensoniana. An Anecdotal Life and Appreciation of Robert Louis Stevenson. Edinburgh: John Grant.
[“new and revised edition” of Hammerton 1903, with a few changes to the text and augmented by many new photographs; reprinted 1910]

Sellar, Eleanor Mary (1907). Recollections and Impressions. Edinburgh / London: Blackwoods. T
[pp.195-99, elsewhere she also talks of the Edinburgh of S’s youth; includes the story of Mrs Fleeming Jenkins’ first meeting with RLS]

Clarke, William Edward (1908). “Personal Recollections of Robert Louis Stevenson”. Chronicle of the London Missionary Society (Apr-May).
[Repr. in Clarke and Claxton 1908; see also Clarke 1921]

Claxton, Arthur E. (1908). Stevenson As I Knew Him. Chronicle of the London Missionary Society (May).
[Repr. in Clarke and Claxton 1908; see also Claxton 1922]

Clarke, William Edward and Arthur E. Claxton (1908). Reminiscences of Robert Louis Stevenson. London: London Missionary Society. Repr. Philadelphia: R. West, 1974

Low, Will H. (1908). A Chronicle of Friendships, 1873-1900. New York / London: Charles Scribner’s Sons / Hodder & Stoughton.
[presents a good picture of the studio life in Paris and the artists’ colonies in the Barbizon area and of Bob Stevenson and RLS]

Anon. (1909). “A Reminiscence of R.L.S by A Lantern-Bearer”. Chamber’s Journal: 583-86. M
[about childhood play in North Berwick]

Moors, Harry J. (1910). With Stevenson in Samoa. Boston / London: Small, Maynard. / Collins.
[memoir by Stevenson’s friend on Samoa; includes 47 photographs]


Findlay, J. Patrick (1911). In the Footsteps of R.L.S. Edinburgh: W.P. Nimmo, Hay & Mitchell
[not an “in the footsteps” travel book – short biography, 63 pp.]

Osbourne, Katherine Durham (1911). Robert Louis Stevenson in California. Chicago: A. C. McClurg.
[The first issue was withdrawn because of unauthorized publication of some of Stevenson’s letters (the person who insisted on this would have been Lloyd Osbourne, her ex-husband); many photographs]

Strong, Isobel (1911). Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Cassell (Little Books on Great Writers).
[illustr.; designed for children]

Anon. [Phillips, Le Roy, supposed author] (1912). Robert Louis Stevenson Memories. Edinburgh: T. N. Foulis.
[25 tipped-in photographic reproductions with brief facing text; many of them of Swanston]

Chalmers, Stephen (1912). “The Penny Piper of Saranac”. Outlook (12 Oct.). Repr. As The Penny Piper of Saranac.: An Episode in Stevenson’s Life. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1916. T
[recollections of RLS in Saranac Lake]

Simpson, Eve Blantyre (1912). The Robert Louis Stevenson Originals. Edinburgh: T. N. Foulis. Also New York: Scribner’s, 1913.

Anon. (1913). Robert Louis Stevenson. The Man and his Work, Extra Number of The Bookman, 1913. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
[essays, recollections, appreciations. See also 1924 for the slightly different book version ed. by Colvin]

St. Gaudens, Augustus. (1913). The Reminiscences of Augustus St. Gaudens. 2 vols. New York: The Century Co.
[vol. 1, 373-89]

Masson, Rosaline (1914; 1920 revised edition). Robert Louis Stevenson. Edinburgh / London: Nelson / Jack.
[brief life; see also Masson 1923]

McClure, S.S. (1914). My Autobiography. New York: McClure Publications.T
[describes his meetings and dealings with RLS, pp. 183-201]

Simpson, Eve Blantyre (1914). Robert Louis Stevenson’s Edinburgh Days. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Stevenson, Mrs Robert Louis [Fanny Van de Grift Stevenson] (1914). The Cruise of the Janet Nichol among the South Sea Islands: A Diary. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons. London: Chatto & Windus, 1915.
[the ship’s name was actually “Janet Nicoll” but Fanny spelt it “Nichol”; the diary on which this is based is in the Silverado Museum; repr. ed. Jolly 2003 (see below)]

Cruse, Amy (1915). Robert Louis Stevenson. London / New York: Harrap (Heroes of Our Time series) / Frederick A. Stokes Co.

Hamilton, Clayton (1915). On the Trail of Stevenson. Garden City, NY / London: Doubleday, Page & Company / Hodder & Stoughton.
[Six sections from articles originally published in The Century Magazine on Stevenson in Edinburgh, Scotland, England, France, The Rest of Europe, America. Illustrated by photos and full-page drawings by Walter Hale. The Appendix (in the 1923 ed. at least) is a chronological outline of Stevenson’s life and his travels. The 1st ed. (151 pp) contains a section of ch. 6 (pp. 130-35) removed in later editions (145 pp) after the Stevenson heirs (probably Lloyd; see similar legal action on Osbourne K. 1911) got the book mostly recalled. These pages refer to RLS and Fanny consumating their relationship in Grez and indirect references to Stevenson’s earlier love-life. Le Bris lists this as 1907, which seems a mistake]

Allen, Maryland (1916). “South Sea Memories of R.L.S.”. Bookman 43 (Aug.): 591-603.
[Allen travels around Tahiti and interviews people who knew Stevenson: Tati Salmon in Papara, Haapii in Tautira and M. Donat in Papeete who had known RLS in Fakarava].

Catton, Robert (1916). A Little Bit of Robert Louis Stevenson. Edinburgh: Andrew Elliot.
[Written for the Scottish Thistle Club of Honolulu, and read on the 28th of June, 1912]

Eaton, Charlotte (1916). A Last Memory of Robert Louis Stevenson. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell.
[short memoir (62 pp.) by someone who knew RLS at Manasquan in 1888; see also Eaton 1921]

Harrison, Birge (1916). “With Stevenson at Grez”. Century Magazine 93(2) (Dec.): 306-314. M, T
[personalities and conversations at Grez]

Sanchez, Nellie (1916). “In California With Robert Louis Stevenson”. Scribner’s Magazine (Oct.) 60(4): 467-81.

Trudeau, Edward Livingston (1916). An Autobiography. New York: Doubleday, Page.
[Stevenson’s doctor at Saranac]

Daplyn, A. J. (1917). “Robert Louis Stevenson at Barbizon”. Chamber’s Journal 7 ser 7 (14 July): 525-28.

Rivenburgh, E. (1917). “Stevenson in Hawaii”. Bookman 46 (Oct.-Dec.): 113-24, 295-307, 452-61.

Sullivan, T. R. (1917). “Robert Louis Stevenson at Saranac”. Scribner’s Magazine (Aug.). Repr. in Passages from the Journal of Thomas Russell Sullivan 1891-1903. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 119-27.

Vulcan, Jenny (1918). Life-Story of Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Stead’s Publishing House.
[in the “Books for the Bairns” series of inexpensive children’s books, started by W. T. Stead in 1896]

Lysaght, Sidney Royse (1919). “A Visit to Robert Louis Stevenson”. TLS (4 Dec.). M
[interesting account of a short stay at Vailima in the spring of 1894; conversations about books and home etc.]

Field, Isobel [Isobel Strong] (1920). Robert Louis Stevenson. Saranac Lake, NY: Stevenson Society of America.
[begins “Before R.L.S. was known to the world as a writer”; chapters are The Child, The Youth, The Man, The Traveler, The Writer, The Teacher, The Friend, The Poet, and The Chief; 87 pp.]

Guthrie, Charles (1920). Robert Louis Stevenson. Some Personal Recollections. Edinburgh: W. Green & Son Ltd.
[previously published in two parts as ‘Robert Louis Stevenson,13th November 1850-–4th December 1894’, in the Juridical Review in 1919.]

Sanchez, Nellie Van de Grift (1920). The Life of Mrs Robert Louis Stevenson. New York / London: Charles Scribner’s Sons / Chatto. Repr. with Introduction by Ysabel Matney. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2004.
[favourable portrait by Fanny’s sister; contains details of her early life not found elsewhere; Ysabel Matney is the niece of Nellie Sanchez]


Blanch, Josephine Mildred (1921). The Story of a Friendship: Robert Louis Stevenson, Jules Simoneau: A California Reminiscence of Stevenson. [no place or publisher information].
[written a year previous to Simoneau’s death in 1908]

Bok, Edward William (1921). The Americanization of Edward Bok: The Autobiography of a Dutch Boy Fifty Years After. New York: Scribner’s.
[pp 113-15: Stevenson correcting proofs of Scribner’s Magazine essays in 1887; pp 295-96: careful and perhaps over-careful revisions]

Clarke, William Edward (1921). “Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa”. Yale Review (Jan.): 275-96. T
[reminscences of the representative of the London Missionary Society in Apia with whom RLS was on friendly terms; see also Clarke 1908]

Colvin, Sir Sidney (1921). Memories and Notes of Persons and Places, 1852-1912. London / New York: Edward Arnold / Scribner’s.
[ch 8 “Robert Louis Stevenson”, pp. 98-152]

Eaton, Charlotte (1921). Stevenson at Manasquan. Chicago: Bookfellows.
[personal recollections of RLS during his stay in New Jersey, May 1888; see also Eaton 1916]

Claxton, Arthur E. (1922). “Stevenson As I Knew Him in Samoa”. Chamber’s Journal 7th ser. 12 (Oct.): 627-30. M
[see also Claxton 1908]

Hellman, George S. (1922). “The Stevenson Myth”. Century Magazine ( Dec.).
[an anticipation of Hellman 1925; starts the story of a love affair with “Claire”]

Lisle, George (1921). “R.L.S. and Some Savages on an Island”. Cornhill Magazine 51 (Dec.): 206-12. M, T
[memories of canoeing on the Firth of Forth]

Low Will H. (1922). Stevenson and Margarita. New Rochelle, NY: Mayflower Press.
[about the tobacco that RLS smoked]

Masson, Rosaline (1922). I Can Remember Robert Louis Stevenson. Edinburgh / London: Chambers.
[an excellent source for many personal eyewitness accounts, some reprinted, others written for this volume; other similar anthologies are Hammerton 1910 and Terry 1996]]

Poustie, William (1922). “Some Memories of East Fife and Robert Louis Stevenson”, East Fife Observer 5 Jan. M
[the title is that given in Masson 1922, possibly there was a different title in the newspaper]

Stevenson, Margaret Isabella (1922). Stevenson’s Baby Book. San Francisco: printed for John Howell by John Henry Nash
[record of early sayings and doings]

Whitmee, Samuel James (1922). “Tusitala. A New Reminiscence of R.L. S.” Outward Bound (Feb): 355-60. M, T
[memories of RLS in Apia and at Vailima]

Barbour, G. F. (1923). Life of Alexander Whyte. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
[Whyte meets Thomas Stevenson in 1880 and tells him that he thinks his son will stand beside Swift and Sterne]

Masson, Rosaline (1923). The Life of Robert Louis Stevenson. Edinburgh / London: Chambers.
[expanded and revised version of Masson 1914 (revised 1920); the title page has “with numerous illustrations reproducing photographs, manuscript letters and a drawing in black and white”]

Pears, Edmund Radcliffe (1923). “Some Recollections of Robert Louis Stevenson”. Scribner’s Magazine 73 (Jan.): 3-8. T
[eye-witness account of a day with RLS in Waikiki, his appearance and conversation]

Stevenson, Margaret (1923). “Notes about Robert Louis Stevenson from his mother’s diary”. Vailima Edition of the Works of Robert Louis Stevenson, vol. 26. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
[Year-by-year summary 1850-88 from the diaries kept by Stevenson’s mother 1895-6]

Colvin, Sidney (1924). Robert Louis Stevenson: His Work And Personality. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
[Contributions from Gosse, Munro, Lowe, Crockett, Osbourne etc.; a revised version of the “Bookman Extra Number” (1913) dedicated to RLS; additional essays and extracts by Colvin. Lloyd Osbourne, W.R. Nicoll, N. Munro, J. A. Hammerton, St. John Adcock and A. Noyes, mostly reprinted from elsewhere]

Osborne, Lloyd (1924). An Intimate Portrait of R.L.S. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.
[affectionate biographical sketches by Stevenson’s stepson; included as prefaces to the Tusitala and Skerryvore Editions]

Sherman, Stuart Pratt (1924). “Who Made the Stevenson Myth?”. New York Herald Tribune (Books) (Nov. 23): 1-2. Repr in The Emotional Discovery of America. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1932.
[criticizes Steuart’s debunking biography and overviews the biographical treatment of RLS. See Shermann 1925]

Steuart, John A. (1924). Robert Louis Stevenson, Man and Writer: A Critical Biography, 2 vols. Boston: Little, Brown.
[After Swinnerton (1914), this biography continues the revision of the Stevenson myth, views with disdain the biography of Balfour, tells for the first time the story of Stevenson and Kate Drummond, the Edinburgh streetwalker, and builds on the “Claire” story]

Taylor, Una (1924). Guests and Memories: Annals of a Seaside Villa. London and New York: H. Milford, Oxford University Press.
[Reminiscences of a friend from the Bournemouth period]

Hellman, George (1925). “Stevenson Emerges”. Bookman 60: 575-77.

Hellman, George (1925). The True Stevenson: a Study in Clarification. Boston: Little, Brown.
[the second debunking biography, after Steuart 1924, centred on an irregular sex-life that was to a great extent imagined by Hellman on the basis of badly-interpreted evidence; also criticized Fanny as overbearing; see the appendix in Furnas 1952 on “The Dialectics of a Reputation”]

Sherman, Stuart Pratt (1925). “What is Biographical Truth?”. New York Herald Tribune (Books) (Dec. 20): 1-2. Repr in The Emotional Discovery of America. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1932.
[criticizes Hellmann’s debunking biography and overviews the biographical treatment of RLS. See Shermann 1924]

Boodle, Adelaide A. (The Gamekeeper) (1926). R.L.S. and His Sine Qua Non. Flashlights from Skerryvore. London / New York: Murray / Scribner’s.
[Descriptions of Skerryvore and RLS in Bournemouth; “his sine qua non” (inseparable, essential companion) is Fanny Stevenson.]

Cunningham, Alison (ed. R. T. Skinner) (1926). Cummy’s Diary. A Diary Kept by R. L. Stevenson’s Nurse Alison Cunningham While Travelling with Him on the Continent during 1863. London: Chatto & Windus.

Hutchinson, Allen (1926). “Stevenson’s only Bust from Life: Recollections of the Sittings at Waikiki”. Scribner’s Magazine 80 (Aug.): 140-43.

Bok, E. W (1927). “The Playful Stevenson”. Scribner’s Magazine 82 (Aug.): 179-80.

Steuart, John A. (1927). The Cap of Youth, being the love romance of Robert Louis Stevenson. Philadelphia / London: J.B. Lippincott Co. / Sampson, Low.

Lucas, E.V. (1928). The Colvins and their Friends. London / New York: Methuen / Scribner’s.
[Includes several chapters on RLS and quotes many letters from Fanny Stevenson to Colvin and Fanny Sitwell]

Carré, Jean-Marie (1929). La vie de Robert Louis Stevenson. Paris: Gallimard.

Carré, Jean-Marie (tr. Eleanor Hard) (1930). The Frail Warrior. New York: Coward-McCann. Also London: Williams and Northgate, 1931. Repr. Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1973.
[translation of Carré 1929; British Library catalogue has “Tr., E. Hard. N. Douglas”]


Dark, Sidney (1931). Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
[also listed as 1930 and 1932; British Library record has “(1931)” and another “[n.d.]”; 310 pp.]

Holland, Clive (1934). “Robert Louis Stevenson at Bournemouth”. Chambers Journal (Dec.).
[apparently republished in Chambers Journal July 1945, pp 286-88 (Subject Index to Periodicals 1945, col 362); see also “C.H.” 1895]

Lockett, William George (1934). Robert Louis Stevenson at Davos. London: Hurst & Blackett.

MacCullum, Thomson Murray (1934). Adrift in the South seas, including Adventures with Robert Louis Stevenson. Los Angeles: Wetzel. T
[MacCullum was a young crew-member of the Equator; illustrated by Jessie E. MacCullum]

Hashiba Mastichi (1935). [Robert Louis Stevenson, the Man]. Tokyo: Kenkyusha.

Hellman, George S. (1936). “R.L.S. and the Streetwalker”. American Mercury 35 (July).

Hills, Gertrude (1935). [Account of a visit to the widow of W. E. Clarke]. Unpublished MS in the Beinecke Library, Yale (Uncat.MS Vault.File.Stevenson).
[Judgements on the Vailima family; Lloyd “of no account at all “; Katherine D. Osbourne “An unscrupulous liar, if not totally mad”; Belle “A clever artist and a bad lot”; Joe Strong “the beach drunk, a woman chaser, a thief and white trash”; Fanny “Coarse, ill-bred and bad mannered… [Stevenson] often broke under her violent temper and extreme rudeness to his friends and acquaintances”; Stevenson’s mother “minor gentlewoman of the old school… thought her husband to blame for Louis’s waywardness, to some extent, he was so very hard. She believed no father and husband had the right to so much opinion as he expressed, frequently violently, and enforced. While his vigour lasted he laid down the law for the whole family, often in absolute opposition to or without consideration for their needs”; RLS “Full of fun. Full of energy; full of a zest of life, which he was able to communicate to all about him. He was generous and kind-hearted, and while not orthodox, “good”. That is he had a native kindness of heart” “he consorted with high and low equally cheerfully”. Hills was E. J. Beinecke’s secretary for his book collection]

Dalglish, Doris (1937). The Presbyterian Pirate: A Portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Oxford University Press.

Field, Isobel (1937). This Life I’ve Loved. New York / London: Charles Scribner’s Sons / Longman, Green. New edition (ed. Peter I. Browning). Lafayette, CA: Great West, 2005.
[“gossipy and attractive memoirs” by S’s stepdaughter; also listed as pub. by Michael Joseph; the 2005 reissue has additional photos and reproductions of drawings]

Smith, Janet Adam (1937). R. L. Stevenson. London: Duckworth.
[“insightful”, Swearingen 2007, p. 241]

Bolitho, Hector (1939). Haywire. An American Travel Diary. New York: Longmans, Green.
[Stevenson mentioned pp. 111-113 in connection with his step-daughter, Isobel Field]

Gwynn, Stephen (1939). Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Macmillan.
[SG was a novelist, biographer and Irish nationalist]

Greene, Graham (1947-49). [Planned but abandoned biography of Greene’s distant relative RLS. Archive of the project in the J. Burns Library, Boston College. See Joseph Farrell, ‘Freelance’, TLS 5 June 2016]

Issler, Anne Roller (1939). Stevenson at Silverado. Caldwell, Idaho: Caxton Printers.
[247 pp., plates; see Issler 1950]

Proudfit, Isabel (1939). The Treasure Hunter. The Story of Robert Louis Stevenson. New York: Julian Messner Inc.
[pictures by Hardie Gramatky; 206 pp.]

“R. L. S. and Natural History: An Edinburgh University Class in 1873”, Scotsman, 20 October 1939.


Nakajima Atsushi (1942). Hikari-to-Kaze-to-Yume. Transl. by Akira Miwa. Light, Wind, and Dreams; an interpretation of the life and mind of Robert Louis Stevenson. Tokyo: Hokuseido Press, 1962 (rev. ed. 1965).
[a novel, written in 1940, published in 1942, the year of Nakajima’s early death, based on the life of Stevenson on Samoa; the author sees Stevenson as having a similar ethical stance to himself (a critical attitude toward European imperialism and a fascination with the “primitive” islanders); the evenly numbered chapters of the book are fictional entries in the diary of the narrator “Stevenson” (based mainly on RLS’s Vailima Letters) while the odd-numbered chapters constitute a literary biography of Stevenson’s years in Samoa told by an omniscient narrator]

Cowell, Henry J (1945). Robert Louis Stevenson. An Englishman’s Re-study, After Fifty Years, of R.L.S. the Man. London: Epworth Press.
[104 pp. Forewords by Sir James Fraser Cunninghame and The Rt Hon Isaac Foot]

Fisher, Anne Benson (1946). No More a Stranger. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.
[biography of Stevenson’s time in Monterey (Sept.-Dec. 1879), fictionalized but based on unique interviews with survivors who remembered him; the “Biographical Notes” at the end provide references to the sources and photographs of people and places]

Cooper, Lettice (1947). Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Home & Van Thal. Also Denver: Alan Swallow, 1948. Repr. London: Arthur Barker, 1967.

Issler, Anne Roller (1949). Happier for his Presence. San Francisco and Robert Louis Stevenson. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Elwin, Malcolm (1950). The Strange Case of Robert Louis Stevenson. London / NY: Macdonald / Russel & Russel.
[assumes the “Claire” story is true, in the Hellman-Steuart tradition]

Hinkley, Laura L. (1950). The Stevensons: Louis and Fanny. New York: Hastings House.

Issler, Anne Roller (1950). Our Mountain Hermitage. Silverado and Robert Louis Stevenson. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
[xiii, 138 pp.; revised and abridged version of Issler 1939]

Lawson, McEwan (1950). On the Bat’s Back. The Story of Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Lutterworth Press.

McLaren, Moray (1950). Stevenson and Edinburgh. London: Chapman & Hall.


Field, Isobel (1951). A Bit of My Life. Santa Barbara, California: Schauer Printing Studio.

Furnas, J.C. (1951). Voyage to Windward: the Life of Robert Louis Stevenson. New York: William Sloane. London: Faber & Faber, 1952 (with corrections).
[one of the best biographies, based on solid research and use of letters, notebooks and autobiographical material and written in a vigorous style; Appendix A “The Dialectics of a Reputation” overviews the decline in citicial esteem; Appendix B “Controversy” refutes the unsubstantiated theses of the debunking biographers; identifies the passage in Balfour 1901 that probably provoked Henley’s bitter attack in the same year and shows (citing letters) that “Claire” was not the name of a mistress but the title of a literary project. In My Life in Writing: Memoirs of a Maverick (New York: William Morrow, 1999) Furnas tells the story of writing the biography]

Stern, G. B. [Gladys Bronwyn] (1952). Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Longmans, Green.
[see also 1954]

Ellison, Joseph W. (1953). Tusitala of the South Seas : The Story of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Life in the South Pacific. New York: Hastings House.
Ridley, M. R. (1953). R. L. Stevenson. London: Oxford University Press.
[190 pp.]

Grover, Eulalie Osgood (1954). Robert Louis Stevenson, Teller of Tales. New York, Dodd, Mead.
[ill. By Marc Simont]

Stern, G.B. [Gladys Bronwyn] (1954). He Wrote Treasure Island. The Story of Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Heinemann.
[see also 1952; published in the USA as Robert Louis Stevenson, The Man who Wrote “Treasure Island”: a Biography. New York: Macmillan]

Neider, Charles (ed.) (1956). Fanny and Robert Stevenson: Our Samoan Adventure. London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson.
[intro.; texts by Stevenson and Fanny Stevenson, incl Fanny’s diary 1890-3]

Aldington, Richard (1957). Portrait of a Rebel. London: Evans Brothers.

Thompson, Francis (1959). The Real Robert Louis Stevenson. New York: University Publishers.

Balfour, Michael (1960). “How the Biography of Robert Louis Stevenson Came to be Written”. Times Literary Supplement 15 Jan: 37 and 22 Jan.: 52.
[see also Balfour 1981].

Caldwell, Elsie Noble (1960). Last Witness for Robert Louis Stevenson. Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press.
[based on interviews with Stevenson’s step-daughter, Isobel Field who died in 1953; covers period from Stevenson’s marriage to his death in Samoa; xiv, 386 pp.; 24 plates]


Wilkie, Katherine (1961). Robert Louis Stevenson: Storyteller and Adventurer. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
[illustr. by Anthony D’Adamo; 189 pp.]

Kahn, Edgar M (1964). R.L.S. A Warm-hearted Friend of Humanity. San Francisco: Edgar M. Kahn.
[brief account of Robert Louis Stevenson’s life in Hawaii; 16 pp.]

Issler, Anne Roller (1965). “Robert Louis Stevenson in Monterey”. Pacific Historical Review 34 (Aug.): 305-21.

Wood, James Playsted (1965). The Lantern Bearer. A Life of Robert Louis Stevenson. New York: Pantheon Books.
[Illustrated by Saul Lambert; 182 pp.]

Bailey, Alice Cooper (1966). To Remember Robert Louis Stevenson. New York: David McKay Company.
[Bailey grew up in Samoa, so this may contain stories from those who knew RLS; 87 pp.]

Mackay, Margaret (1968). The Violent Friend: The Story of Mrs Robert Louis Stevenson. New York: Doubleday. Also London: Dent, 1970.
[Abridged ed.: London: Readers Union, 1970]

Mackenzie, Compton (1968). Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Morgan-Grampian Books (International Profiles).
[brief biography, with many b&w photos; 90 pp.]


Daiches, David (1973). Robert Louis Stevenson and his World. London: Thames & Hudson.
[128 pp; good selection of pictures (99 illustrations); Swearingen 2007 (p. 241) judges this one of the three best short biographies, with Smith’s 1938 biography and Mehew’s 2004 entry for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography]

Rather, Lois (1973). Stevenson’s Silver Ship. Biography of the “Casco”. Oakland: Rather Press.
[limited edition of 100; 74 pp., 4 plates]

Binding, Paul (1974). Robert Louis Stevenson. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[illustrated throughout by Robin Jaques; studies development of personality and creative imagination using letters and autobiographical writings but mostly concentrated on the life before 1888; 205 pp.]

Cohen, Edward H. (1974). The Henley-Stevenson Quarrel. Gainesville: University Presses of Florida.

Knight, Alanna (1974). The Passionate Kindness: The Love Affair Between RLS and Fanny Osbourne. Aylesbury: Milton House Books. Reprinted Glasgow: Molendinar Press, 1980.
[fictionalized biography]

Mackenzie, Kenneth Starr (1974). “Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa 1889-1894”. Dissertation at Dalhousie University, Canada. Microfilm lending copy: National Library of Canada, Ottowa.
[based on research in British government and missionary society archives; clarifies RLS’s involvement in Samoan politics and refutes the accusations of Cusack-Smith]

Pope-Hennessy, James (1974). Robert Louis Stevenson. London / New York: Jonathan Cape / Simon & Schuster.
[“went deeper into Stevenson’s life than any biographer had gone before”, booksellers description; “sympathetic and insightful” (Swearingen 2007 p. 242)]

Rice, Edward (1974). Journey to Upolu. Robert Louis Stevenson, Victorian Rebel. New York: Dodd, Mead.
[includes some photographs not often reproduced; 145 pp.]

Mair, Craig (1978). A Star for Seamen: The Stevenson Family of Engineers. London: John Murray.
[draws on family business papers and photographs]

Mackenzie, Kenneth Starr (1979) “The Last Opportunity: Robert Louis Stevenson and Samoa, 1889-1894”. In Deryck Scarr (ed.). More Pacific Island Portraits. Canberra: Australian National University Press.
[RLS’s involvement in Samoan politics, the context of the writing of A Footnote to History, his attempt to become British consul and his enlightened plan for reconciliation]

Calder, Jenni (1980). RLS: A Life Study. London: Hamish Hamilton.
[though often seen as one of the better biographies, Swearingen (2007: 242-44) finds it rather unexciting]

Scarr, Deryck (1980). “Deport All Novel Writers”. Ch 20 in Viceroy of the Pacific: The Majesty of Colour: A Life of John Bates Thurston. Canberra: Australian National University Press.
[about difficult relations between RLS and the British High Commissioner, Thurston]


Jacquette, Rodolphe (1980). Tusitala: ou, La vie aventureuse de Robert-Louis Stevenson. Paris : Seghers.

Balfour, Michael (1981). “The First Biography”. In Jenni Calder (ed.) Stevenson and Victorian Scotland. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 33-47.
[principally the story of how the biography was taken away from Colvin and given to Graham Balfour; see Balfour 1960]

Theroux, Joseph (1981) “Rediscovering H.J.M., Samoa’s ‘unconquerable’ Harry Moors”. Pacific Islands Monthly 52(8) (Aug.): 51-57.

Theroux, Joseph (1981) “H.J.M.: Showman, Author, Farmer–and Crusading Politician”. Pacific Islands Monthly 52(9) (Sept.): 59-64.
[in his two 1981 articles, Theroux provides much new information about Moors and Apia]

Bushnell, O. A. (1982). “Our Good Friend Mr. Stevenson”. Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 5.2 (Spring): 118-128.
[ncludes unpublished recollections by a nun at Molokai of S’s visit there in 1889; republished in Social Science Association of Hawaii (1982). A Centenary Celebration 1882-1982: Representative Essays. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii.]

Nickerson, Roy (1982). Robert Louis Stevenson in California: A Remarkable Courtship. San Francisco: Chronicle Books
[contains nothing new according to Swearingen 2007]

Social Science Association of Hawaii (1982). A Centenary Celebration 1882-1982: Representative Essays. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii.
[reprints lectures given at earlier meetings, including Frank Pleadwell, “The Cruise of the Silver Ship” (about the Casco cruise) from 1947, and O.A. Bushnell, “Our Good Friend Mr Stevenson” (about the Molokai visit) from 1980 and independently published: see Bushnell 1982]

Kiely, Robert (1983). “Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson”. In Ira B. Nadel and William E. Fredeman (eds.). Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 18: Victorian Novelists After 1885. Columbia, SC: Bruccoli Clark Layman (The Gale Group). 281-297.
[Swearingen 2007 has pp. 268-88 (maybe with reference to another Bruccoli Clark volume – see also Boyle 1987, Chlebek 1994, Nauffus 1996, Hirsch 1999; includes a reproduction of a sketch of Cummy by RLS now in the Berg Collection]

Holmes, Richard (1984). “In Stevenson’s Footsteps”. Granta 10: Travel Writing 192-251. Reprinted as “1964: Travels” in Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer. London: Hodder & Stoughton. 11-69

Knight, Alanna (1986). R.L.S. in the South Seas: An Intimate Photographic Record. Edinburgh / St. Paul, Minnesota: Mainstream / Paragon House.
[deals with the two years of cruising in the South Seas with photos, extracts from letters etc.; 192 pp.]

Boyle, Richard A. (1987). “Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson”. In William B. Thesing (ed.). Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 57: Victorian Prose Writers After 1867. Columbia, SC: Bruccoli Clark Layman (The Gale Group). 294-305.

Rankin, Nicholas (1987). Dead Man’s Chest: Travels after R.L.S. London: Faber. Repr. London: Phoenix Press, 2001.
[a unique in-the-footsteps travel book (the most successful of its kind) covering the whole of Stevenson’s life and arranged in appropriate chronological order (so following both footsteps and life-stages), weaving together an account of Stevenson’s life with the biographer’s experiences along the way. The result is an essayistic sequence of chance encounters by the biographer and his lines of thought all held together within the framework of Stevenson’s life and Rankin’s attempt to understand it. Rankin also researches in libraries (and tells us of the library visits): discovers the Devonia passenger list (pp. 122-3), a manuscript account of Stevenson on Molokai by Sister Leopoldina Burns (pp. 281-84; very possibly the same as Bushnell 1982), and Graham Greene’s preparatory notes for a biography of RLS (pp. 74-7). he also interviews eminent Stevensonians Barry Menikoff (pp. 267-68) and Roger Swearingen (pp. 167-68). But the most significant meeting is with Jorge Luis Borges, which opens the book (pp. 1-5) and to whom Rankin returns on several occasions, creating one of the threads that hold together this fascinating and sui generis reportage-biography]

Mussapi, Roberto (1990). Tusitala. Verso l’sola del tesoro. Milano: Leonardo. Repr (with corrections) as Tusitala, il narratore. Vita di Robert Louis Stevenson. Milano: Ponte alle Grazie, 2007.
[Biographical outline and episodes starting from the first voyage to the USA, proceeding by episodes combined with flashbacks to childhood and youth. Lyrical evocations in poetic prose are mixed with interesting critical analyses (the repeated evocation of sounds heard in the darkness in Stevenson’s writings; the influential experience of unromantic Silverado which taught him that “stories must be created from every fragment of common reality, illuminated by imagination”; the unusual attitude towards South Sea cultures of seeing affinities with one’s own culture rather than exotic differences [“Conobbe per affinità, non per differenza”]). It begins and ends with a name: “Devonia…Tusitala”]


Bell, Ian (1992). Robert Louis Stevenson: Dreams of Exile. Edinburgh / New York: Mainstream / Henry Holt.
[Brian Doyle (Spirited Men, 2004) considers this “the best of the modern books about Louis” after Furnas; and Swearingen (2007: 244-) says it is “among the few studies that do justice to RLS’s Scottishness” and calls it “vigorous, redable… personal”]

Marías, Javier (1992). Vidas escritas. Madrid: Siruela.
[collection of biographical sketches of writers, mixing the telling anecdote and the pithy judgment, previously published in the magazine Claves, including ” Robert Louis Stevenson entre criminales”: the title refers to Stevenson’s interest in morally ambiguous lives. Among other comments, Marías says “Almost nobody takes the trouble to read Stevenson’s essays, which are among the most penetrating and lively examples from the nineteenth century”. For the English translation, see Maraís 2006]

Bevan, Bryan (1993). Robert Louis Stevenson: Poet and Teller of Tales. London / New York: Rubicon Press / St. Martin’s Press.
[“Bevan’s volume finds its strength in his elucidation of Stevenson’s final, difficult years in the South Seas”, YWES; “a businesslike, uncritical recital of familiar facts and anecdotes” (Swearingen 2007: 247)]

Lapierre, Alexandra (1993). Fanny Stevenson. Paris: Robert Lafont. Transl. Carol Cosman. Fanny Stevenson: Muse, Adventuress and Romantic Enigma. London: Fourth Estate, 1995. Fanny Stevenson: A Romance of Destiny. New York: Carroll & Graf, 1995.
[fictionalized but based on research]

McLynn, Frank (1993). Robert Louis Stevenson. London: Hutchinson.
[his view of the Osbourne clan has been criticized by Mehew, Furnas and Swearingen (2007: 245-479), but his treatment of the Samoa years is thorough; Ernest Mehew’s attack ( “‘The True Stevenson?'”. TLS 2 July 1993: 15-16) identifies errors; Mehew’s assumption of a moral duty for extreme loyalty to Fanny clarifies a basic difference of approach of Stevenson biographers towards Stevenson’s wife]

Chlebek, Diana A. (1994). “Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson”. In Laura M. Zaidman and Caroline C. Hunt (eds.) Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 141: British Children’s Writers, 1880-1914. Columbus, SC: Bruccoli Clark Layman (The Gale Group). 271-283.

Le Bris, Michel (1994). Robert Louis Stevenson. Les années bohémiennes 1850-1880. Paris: Nil.
[later reprinted in two volumes; intended as the first part of a biography but the second part has not appeared; contains errors but written with great gusto and based on a study of the letters]

Gherman, Beverly (1996). Robert Louis Stevenson: Teller of Tales. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers / Simon & Schuster.
[Biography focusing on the events of the life, ill. with photographs, 136pp; designed for readers 8-12 years]

Naufftus, William F. (1996). “Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson”. In William F. Naufftus (ed.). Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 156: British Short-Fiction Writers, 1880-1914: The Romantic Tradition. Columbus, SC: Bruccoli Clark Layman (The Gale Group). 330-355.

Terry, R. C. (ed.) (1996). Robert Louis Stevenson: Interviews and Recollections. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.
[50 recollections by his wife, stepson, mother, Frances Sitwell, Andrew Lang, Henry Adams and others, with bibliography, notes and further reading; other similar anthologies are Hammerton 1910 and Masson 1922]

Carpenter, Angelica Shirley & Jean Shirley (1997). Robert Louis Stevenson: Finding Treasure Island. Minneapolis: Lemer Publications.
[seven of the sixteen chapters are on the South Seas period; 144 pp.]

Davies, Hunter (1997). The Teller of Tales: In Search of Robert Louis Stevenson. New York: Interlink.
[recounts the writer’s life as well as the author’s own visits to places where Stevenson lived; alternates chapters of biography with “letters” to Stevenson from Davies, who says, “I thought it might interest and amuse you to hear what’s been happening to some of the places you once knew so well”; an in-the-footsteps travel book covering the whole life; condemned by the Boston Book Review as long and superficial “article for a travel magazine” in which quotations are systematically mangled; “gossipy, popular biography” (Swearingen 2007: 237)]

Fitzpatrick, Elayne Wareing (1997, 2nd ed). A Quixotic Companionship: Fanny and Robert Louis Stevenson. Monterey: Old Monterey Preservation Society.
[104 pp., illustrated by Shell Fisher]

Hammond, J. R. (1997). A Robert Louis Stevenson Chronology. London: Macmillan Press Ltd.
[a chronology of Stevenson’s life; useful reference work, with indexes]

Hirsch, Gordon (1997). “Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson”. In Barbara Brothers and Julia Gergits (eds.). Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 174: British Travel Writers, 1876-1909. Columbus, SC: Bruccoli Clark Layman (The Gale Group). 268-288.

Bathurst, Bella (1999). The Lighthouse Stevensons. London: HarperCollins.
[a well-received family biography of the Stevenson family of marine engineers]

Leslie, Jean & Roland Paxton (1999). Bright Lights, The Stevenson Engineers 1752-1971, comprising Family Recollections. Edinburgh: published by the authors.
[Produced on the occasion of the “Stevenson Family of Engineers Symposium” held at the Royal Museum of Scotland in 1994. Family recollections by Jean Leslie, grand-daughter of Charles Stevenson, and professional comment on engineering aspects of the Stevenson lighthouses by Professor Roland Paxton. Includes a chapter on Robert Louis Stevenson’s life as a reluctant trainee engineer and edited extracts from the MS “R.L. Stevenson. Scraps from his life” by RLS’s cousin Charles Alexander Stevenson (1855-1950), pp. 128-136; 126 illustrations (b&w and colour)]

Swearingen, Roger (1999). Robert Louis Stevenson and Samoa after 100 Years. Apia, Samoa and Phoenix, Arizona: Robert Louis Stevenson Museum / Preservation Foundation Inc.

Yoshida Midori (1999). TUSITALA – Monogataluhito. [?Tokyo]: Mainichi Newspaper Press.
[biography in Japanese; 218 pp.]

Dury, Richard (2000). “The Spoken Words”. In Karen Steele (ed.) The Robert Louis Stevenson Club 150th Birthday Anniversary Book. Edinburgh: Robert Louis Stevenson Club. 10-13.
[collects evidence about S’s Scottish accent and his voice-quality]

Falkoner-Salkfield, Bridget (2000). “Manasquan Re-Visited”. In Karen Steele (ed.) The Robert Louis Stevenson Club 150th Birthday Anniversary Book. Edinburgh: Robert Louis Stevenson Club. 45-49.
[about RLS’s stay in New Jersey in 1888]

Fitzpatrick, Elayne Wareing (2000). Robert Louis Stevenson’s Ethics for Rascals. Philadelphia: Xlibris (Random House).
[Book 1 is an “in the footsteps” type biography, Book 2 is an “introduction to the … playful philosophy of the prince of storytellers”; more information at, including an excerpt from the book]

Mehew, Ernest (2000). “Glimpses of Stevenson’s Childhood”. In Karen Steele (ed.) The Robert Louis Stevenson Club 150th Birthday Anniversary Book. Edinburgh: Robert Louis Stevenson Club.


Booth, Gordon K. (2001).”The Strange Case of Mr Stevenson and Professor Smith”. Aberdeen University Review 59 (Spring 2001): 386-97.
[about brief contact between William Robertson Smith and RLS at University; online at GKB Enterprises retitled “Robert Louis Stevenson and William Robertson Smith: A Study In Contrast”]

Callow, Philip (2001). Louis. A Life of Robert Louis Stevenson. London / Chicago: Constable Robinson / Ivan R. Dee.
[emphasis on Stevenson’s personality; “a middle-of-the-road compilation” (Swearingen 2007: 248)]

Forster, Margaret (2001). Good Wives?: Mary, Fanny, Jennie and Me, 1845-2001. London: Chatto.
[Includes a section on Fanny Stevenson as a wife]

Holmes, Lowell D. (2001). Treasured Islands: Cruising the South Seas with Robert Louis Stevenson. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Sheridan.
[includes the detailed history of the ships that RLS sailed in and reconstructed plans]

Lübbren, Nina (2001). Rural Artists’ Colonies in Europe 1870 – 1910. Manchester: Manchester U P.
[Contains a fair bit of detail about Bob, RLS et al in Barbizon and Grez-sur-Loing]

Woodhead , Richard (2001). The Strange Case of R L Stevenson. Edinburgh: Luath Press.
[A fictionalized account of the adult life of Robert Louis Stevenson, within the context of his long illness, interwoven with factual material, including the words of five doctors who treated him at different periods. Woodhead’s account of writing the book in Textualities 2005]

Stevenson, Fanny Van de Grift (ed. Roslyn Jolly) (2003). The Cruise of the “Janet Nichol” among the South Sea Islands. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.
[The text of the 1890 diary as revised by Fanny for publication in 1914, with the addition of a substantial introduction plus explanatory notes and recommended reading. Illustrated with photographs taken on the cruise, some previously published in the 1914 edition, many published here for the first time]

Cairney, John (2004). The Quest for Robert Louis Stevenson. Edinburgh: Luath Press.
[A readable personal account by an actor and student of Stevenson who has interpreted the writer on many occasions; no footnotes or index; quotations from RLS are placed at the beginning and end of chapters; “a brisk narrative full of anecdotes” (Swearingen 2007: 248)]

Friedman, Kinky (2004). ʻRobert Louis Stevenson in Samoaʼ. ‘Scuse Me While I Whip This Out: Reflections on Country Singers, Presidents, and Other Troublemakers. New York: HarperCollins. Pp. 129-137.
[In the ʻOther Troublemakersʼ section of a collection of essays by this American country singer-songwriter, humorist and columnist. ʻStevenson also visited the island of Molokai, shortly after the death of the great holy man Father Damien…’]

Gray, William (2004). Robert Louis Stevenson: A Literary Life. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
[Not another biography but an overview of Stevenson’s writing career made interesting by a stimulating division into five geographical chapters, dealing with works that can be profitably related to the cultural contexts of England, France, Scotland, America and the South Seas. The placing of “The English Scene” first is an interesting decision but justifiable if we remember the importance of the London literary scene for his early career. Scotland is placed centrally, and the main discussion of Jekyll and Hyde is in this chapter, showing that the arrangement is by cultural context of the works rather than residence during the writing or the setting of the narrative—though often the three coincide nicely. Gray’s interest in French and German critics also produces some interesting observations. There are a sprinkling of misprints and a couple of repetitions.]

Jamison, Kay Redfield (2004). Exuberance: The Passion for Life. New York: Knopf. Paperback edition, New York: Vintage, 2005.
[Jamison refers to Stevenson’s exuberant personality and his belief that artistic work should be undertaken in a spirit of enthusiasm (quoting “Letter to a Young Gentleman who Proposes to Embrace the Career of Art”): “The book, the statue, the sonata must be gone upon with the unreasoning good faith and the unflagging spirit of children at their play”]

Mehew, Ernest (2004). “Stevenson, Robert Louis”. In H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison (eds.). The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography vol. 52: 597-606.
[praised by Swearingen (2007) as one of the best short biographies]

Capus, Alex (2005). Reisen im Licht der Sterne. Eine Vermutung. [Journeys by the Light of the Stars. A Conjecture.] München: Knaus.
[A readable combination of biography, interconnected tangential stories and freewheeling “conjecture” centred on Stevenson’s life in Samoa]

Harman, Claire (2005). Robert Louis Stevenson: A Biography. London : HarperCollins. Also as Myself and the Other Fellow: A Life of Robert Louis Stevenson. New York: HarperCollins
[well-written account by a professional biographer, making full use of the Yale Letters for the first time; makes clear how difficult Fanny Stevenson was; praised by Swearingen (2007: 250-52)]

Marías, Javier (2006). Written Lives. Translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa. New York: New Directions.
[Originally published in Spanish, see Marías 1992]

Salesa, Damon (2006). “Misimoa: An American on the Beach”. Common-place 5 (2) (Jan. 2005).
[about H. J. Moors and Apia]

Swearingen, Roger G. (2007). “Biography”. Pp. 206-59 in “Recent Studies in Robert Louis Stevenson: Survey of Biographical Works and Checklist of Criticism–1970-2005”. Dickens Studies Annual 38: 205-98.
[authoritative detailed commentary and criticism of biographies and biographical studies]

Dunlop, Eileen (2008). The Travelling Mind. Edinburgh: NMS Enterprises.
[A concise (155 pp.) narrative of Stevenson’s life, which, though it makes no new contributions to our knowledge, tells the story well and offers convincing interpretations of key moments]

Tom Hubbard (2008). “Robert Louis Stevenson”. In Tom Hubbard, Rikky Rooksby and Edward Wakeling (eds.) Lives of Victorian Literary Figures, Part VI: Carroll, Stevenson and Swinburne by their Contemporaries. 3 vols. Pickering & Chatto.
[a useful collection of texts about RLS written by his contemporaries]


Béatrice Balti (2012). Robert Louis Stevenson : Voyage au bout de l’Etrange. Fouesnant, F: Yoran Embanner.
[Fictionalized biography]

Rodolphe [Rodolphe Daniel Jacquette] (script), René Follet (art) (2013). Stevenson, le pirate intérieur. Marcinelle, Belgium: Dupuis.
[comic book biography]

Nancy Horan (2014). Under the Wide and Starry Sky. New York: Ballantine Books.
[novel/fictionalized biography about the meeting and life together of RLS and Fanny Osbourne]

Mark Wiederanders (2014). Stevenson’s Treasure. Tucson, AZ: Fireship Press.
[A history-based novel about RLS and Fanny Osbourne: their meeting and first few years together, with a focus on California.]

Joseph Farrell (2017). Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa. London: MacLehose Press. [A detailed study of the final years of Stevenson’s life and his involvement with the culture and politics of Samoa]

John Sloane (2018). Robert Louis Stevenson: A Life in Stories. Oxford: Vesalius. [A comprehensive short biography, which claims to make use of previously unused sources. – DM]