Robert Louis Stevenson on Rhode Island

“Here we are at Newport in the house of the good Fairchilds; and a sad burthen we have laid upon their shoulders. I have been in bed practically ever since I came. I caught a cold on the Banks after having had the finest time conceivable and enjoyed myself more than I could have hoped on board our strange floating menagerie. Stallions and monkeys and matches made our cargo”
(Letter from RLS to Henry James, 18 September 1887, from The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, ed. by Bradford A. Booth and Ernest Mehew, vol vi [New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995], p. 6)

On this page you will find information about Robert Louis Stevenson’s visit to Newport, Rhode Island.

Stevenson, his wife, mother, Lloyd and Valentine Roch arrived in New York City on 7 September 1887. They had left the Albert Docks in London on the Ludgate Hill on 22 August. Although the ship turned out to be a cattle-boat, RLS loved the journey and arrived in the United States in high spirits – and as a literary celebrity. For more about RLS’s reception in the city, see the page devoted to New York in the Footsteps section of the website.

When he arrived in New York, RLS received a telegram from the philanthropist Charles Fairchild. Fairchild had invited RLS to visit him in his summer home on 94 Washington Street, Newport, Rhode Island, 02840. He had also arranged for the Stevensons to stay in the Victoria Hotel in New York City as Fairchild’s guest until they were ready to travel to Newport.

RLS stayed in the Victoria Hotel on 7 September (the Fairchilds had even arranged for a carriage to take the Stevensons there), and on the following day he left for Newport. He was accompanied by Lloyd and Valentine. Unfortunately, RLS had become ill towards the end of his journey on the Ludgate Hill and he was bedbound for most of his stay with the Fairchilds.
Fanny and his mother joined RLS in Newport on 14 September, and the party stayed until 19 September, when they returned to New York City (by boat).