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Lloyd Osbourne (1868 – 1947)

For a list of Lloyd’s published works: WRITINGS

Born in San Francisco, California, on 7 April 1868, Samuel Lloyd Osbourne was the first son of Fanny and Samuel Osbourne and spent his youth growing up in Oakland, California. At the age of seven, he traveled with his mother, older sister Belle, and younger brother Hervey, to Europe. After the death of his brother in Paris, Sammy (as he was then called) spent the summer of 1876 in Grez-sur-Loing where the family met Robert Louis Stevenson (whom, he nicknamed Luly).

In France, Sammy attended boarding school while his mother and sister studied painting. Upon their return to California, he was sent to boarding school in Sonoma. It was from here that he joined his mother and new stepfather, Robert Louis Stevenson, in Calistoga to celebrate their marriage in the summer of 1880 by squatting in an abandoned bunkhouse at the old Silverado Mine on Mount St. Helena. Here Lloyd and Louis began their many make-believe games that involved pirates and experimentations with a hand-operated “toy” printing press.

Afterwards, the new family of three set off for Europe. Over the next few years Lloyd (as he was ever after known) attended British boarding school and eventually entered the University of Edinburgh. After the death of Thomas Stevenson, Louis’ father, Lloyd accompanied the family to New York and then on their adventures in the South Seas.

When it was determined Louis would not survive a trip back to Europe, Lloyd was sent off on the mission of selling the family’s Bournemouth, England, home and bring all of their belongings to Samoa. Lloyd lived and worked on the family’s Vailima plantation for the rest of Louis’ life. Throughout their time in the South Seas together, Louis and Lloyd would often collaborate on story ideas and three of Stevenson’s books from this time carry Lloyd’s name as co-author (The Wrong Box, The Wrecker, and The Ebb-Tide).

After Louis’ death, Lloyd became the US Vice-Consul General to Samoa and married Katharine Durham in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1896. Together they had two sons, Alan and Louis.

The rest of Lloyd’s life was spent as an author, actively being published but never achieving much acclaim. His mother, who never cared much for his wife Katherine, made Lloyd the executor of her will but left most of her property to Isobel, giving a generous allowance to Lloyd but only $5 to Katharine. Shortly after Fanny’s death in 1914, Lloyd divorced Katherine (who failed in suing Isobel for 122 of Stevenson’s personal letters). They were then remarried briefly in 1916.

The last few decades of Lloyd’s life were spent writing, collaborating with his successful playwright nephew Austin Strong, and living in Europe. In 1936 he traveled to the south of France where he became involved with a young Frenchwoman, Yvonne Payerne, who bore him a son they named Samuel. When World War II broke out, Lloyd returned to the California where he died in 1947 (on the same day Yvonne and their son arrived in New York on their way to see him).

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The Queen Versus Billy and other stories (1900)
Forty Years Between (March 1903)
Love, The Fiddler (1903)
The Fugitives of Pleasure (February 1904)
Baby Bullet : the motor of destiny (1905)
The Motormaniacs (1905)
Wild Justice(1906)
Three Speeds Forward(1906)
Wild Waters (1906)
The Tin Diskers : the story of an invasion that all but failed (1906)
The Under-World : an original melodrama in four acts (1907)
The Adventurer (1907)
Schmidt (1907)
Don Patrick; an original romantic drama in four acts (1907)
Infatuation (1909)
Harm’s Way (1909)
A Person of Some Importance (1911)
The Kingdoms of the World (1911)
Wild Justice: Stories of the South Seas (1921)
An Intimate Portrait of R L S By His Stepson (1924)
The Grierson Mystery (1928)
Not To Be Opened (1928)
Peril (1929)


The Wrong Box (1889) [with RLS]
The Wrecker (1892) [with RLS]
The Ebb-Tide (1894) [with RLS]
Memories of Vailima (1902) [with Isobel Strong]
The Little Father of the Wilderness; A Play in One Act (1924) [with Austin Strong]
The Drums of Oude (1946) [with Austin Strong]


Some Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, compiled by Lloyd Osbourne (1917)
Samoa Under the Sailing Gods (1930) [written by N. A. Rowe]

Essays, Articles, Short-Stories

South Sea Island Story (Cosmopolitan Magazine, New York, July, 1899)
How the Battle was Lost (Scribner’s Magazine, 1893, pp. 255-260)
Letter to Mr. Stevenson’s Friends (pamphlet following death of RLS, 1894)
Mr. Stevenson’s Home Life at Vailima (Scribner’s Magazine, Vol. XVIII, No. 4, New York, October 1895, pp. 458-464)
Stevenson at Play (Scribner’s Magazine. Vol. XXIV, No. 6, New York, December 1898, pp. 709-719)

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