Robert Louis Stevenson

Written by Louise Cowan, Trainee Liaison Librarian

Today celebrates the 165th birthday of Robert Louis Stevenson, most famous for his classic novels ‘Treasure Island’ and ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’.


Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, XReserve 823.89 STE

Indeed it is ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ that is credited with the accolade of having initially established Stevenson’s reputation as a writer of great talent, (Daiches.)


Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.

― Robert Louis Stevenson, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


However, in his life-time, Stevenson wrote a vast number of works, including over 20 novels, short stories and poems. He frequently experimented with a range of genres and styles also producing essays, travel writing, plays and biographies!


Robert Louis Stevenson books on a shelf

Robert Louis Stevenson, Children’s Collection 823.8STE

UMASCS holds examples of each of these genres, ranging from his 1982 history of Samoa, ‘A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa’ (XReserve –996.13-STE) to a fifth edition of his poetry collection, ‘A child’s garden of verses’ (Children’s Collection, 821.8-STE).





Some of our favourite editions however, are of his most well-known publications, including this beautifully designed copy of ‘Kidnapped’ from the 1920s:

Book cover for 'Kidnapped' featuring a ship design

Kidnapped, Children’s Collection 823.8 STE


Our Children’s Collection also hosts a fantastic range of illustrated book covers of ‘Treasure Island.’

treasure island

Sir, with no intention to take offence, I deny your right to put words into my mouth.

― Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island


Although it was originally published in book form in 1883, after appearing in ‘Young Folks’ as: The Sea Cook, one of our oldest copies of ‘Treasure Island’ is a 1893, Cassel and Company Ltd, illustrated edition. Beautifully illustrated, it comes complete with a lovely map of Treasure Island itself.  A handwritten note inside the book shows it was originally a Christmas gift to one Francis Gore from his father in 1894.

Map of Treasure Island, 1893

Treasure Island, 1893. Caption reads: Francis C. Gore from my Father Christmas 1894.



Daiches describes ‘Treasure Island’ as, ‘an adventure presented with consummate skill, with atmosphere, character, and action superbly geared to one another.’ As such it is no wonder that it remains a favoured classic even today.



Daiches, David, “Robert Louis Stevenson.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Britannica Academic. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2015. Web. 11 Nov. 2015. <>.

Robert Louis