Happy Robert Louis Stevenson Day 13th November 2021

Thanks to this reminder from the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum in USA I am reminded that it’s Robert Louis Stevenson’s birthday today, 13 November!

Born in 1850 in Edinburgh, today would have been his 171st birthday.

They have a full day of pirate birthday activities planned at the RLS museum – enjoy – but as it’s in St Helena CA (California) in another country, sadly I won’t be going.

RLS and his American wife Fanny Osborne stayed in this area of California when they married.

The Museum has the largest collection of Stevensoniana on public display in the world https://stevensonmuseum.org/the-museum/history/

Source: Pinterest / Nancy Horan, Roberts Louis Stevenson Museum collection

including some of RLS’ toy soldiers:



Not able to pop over to Mt. Helena to the RLS Museum?

You could of course celebrate RLS’ birthday at home by reading some Stevenson or even playing a toy soldier wargame.

Whilst convalescing, RLS played complex toy soldier war games written up by his stepson Lloyd Osborne in Scribners Magazine as the Yallobelly Times


Famous as the author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson is less well known as an early war gamer.

His role as ” grandfather” or “great uncle” in the history of wargaming (depending where you place H.G. Wells) was acknowledged by “father of the modern wargame” Donald Featherstone in his book War Games (1962), a book that began the hobby careers of so many of us.

Toy soldiers also feature in several of his famous poems feature toy soldiers including “The Land of Counterpane” https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/the-land-of-counterpane/

which inspired one of my toy soldier wargames last year


Chaos and carnage on the Counterpane with RLS’ poem and Jessie Wilcox Smith’s famous illustration https://www.gutenberg.org/files/25609/25609-h/25609-h.htm

and the garden game focussed “The Dumb Soldier”.




Happy birthday RLS!

Blog post by Mark Man of TIN, 12 / 13 November 2021


12 thoughts on “Happy Robert Louis Stevenson Day 13th November 2021”

  1. Excellent stuff – Scotland’s greatest writer (I would argue) and, unknown to many, a scion of the family behind the famous Stevenson lighthouses! His most famous book is possibly Treasure Island, an alleged children;s yarn which begins with a blind man delivering a Mafia-style death threat to a pirate dying of alcoholic poisoning in the upstairs room of a pub! The Hawes Inn in South Queensferry where he wrote much of Treasure Island is still there, now a chain pub with a beautiful beer garden, and the walk along the shore of the Firth of Forth in the nearby Dalmeny Estate is sublime, all coves, sand dunes and driftwood. I like to imagine him pacing that shore and making mental notes for works such as Kidnapped (in which the Bass Rock and many other local landmarks figure).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting links, thank you.
      I didn’t read Treasure Island as a child, only much later and it is great, stirring and dark stuff. Not exactly a typical children’s book …
      I recall seeing a book called the Lighthouse Stevensons but hadn’t connected it to RLS.

      Liked by 1 person

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