Lloyd Osbourne

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Lloyd Osbourne
Lloyd osbourne.jpg
Photograph of Lloyd Osbourne (with Robert Louis Stevenson) attending a Royal Luau thrown by King Kalākaua, Honolulu, Hawaii, c. 1889
Born (1868-04-07)7 April 1868
San Francisco, California
Died 22 May 1947(1947-05-22) (aged 79)
Glendale, California
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Notable works The Wrong Box, The Ebb-Tide, The Wrecker
Spouse Katherine Durham (1896-1914)
Partner Yvonne Payerne
Children Alan Osbourne
Louis Osbourne
Samuel Osbourne
Relatives mother:
Fanny Vandegrift
stepfather:
Robert Louis Stevenson

Samuel Lloyd Osbourne (April 7, 1868 – May 22, 1947) was an American author and the stepson of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson with whom he would co-author three books and provide input and ideas on others.

Early life[edit]

Lloyd Osbourne was born in San Francisco to Fanny Osbourne (née Vandegrift) and Samuel Osbourne, a lieutenant on the State Governor's staff. They married when Fanny was just seventeen years of age, and Lloyd's older sister Isobel Osbourne (or 'Belle') was born the following year. Samuel fought in the American Civil War, went with a friend sick with tuberculosis to California, and via San Francisco, he ended up in the silver mines of Nevada. Once settled there he sent for his family. Fanny and the five-year-old Isobel made the long journey via New York, the isthmus of Panama, San Francisco, and finally by wagons and stage-coach to the mining camps of the Reese River, and the town of Austin in Lander County. Life was difficult in the mining town, and there were few women around. Fanny learned to shoot a pistol and to roll her own cigarettes.

The family moved to Virginia City, Nevada. Samuel began philandering with saloon girls, and in 1866 he left to prospect for gold in the Coeur d'Alene Mountains. Fanny and her daughter journeyed to San Francisco. There was a rumour that Sam had been killed by a grizzly bear, but he returned to the family safe in 1868. Shortly thereafter Lloyd was born. Samuel continued philandering and Fanny returned to Indianapolis.

The couple were reconciled again in 1869, and lived in Oakland where a second son, Hervey, was born. Fanny took up painting and gardening. However, her husband's behaviour did not improve, and Fanny finally left him in 1875 and moved with her three children to Europe. They lived in Antwerp for three months, and then in order to allow Fanny to study art, moved to Paris where Fanny and Isobel both enrolled in the Académie Julian. Hervey was sick with scrofulous tuberculosis, died on 5 April 1876, and was buried in a temporary grave at Père Lachaise Cemetery. While in Paris, Lloyd's mother met and befriended the author, Robert Louis Stevenson. He became deeply attached to her and in 1880 they were married when Lloyd was just 12 years old. As a boy, Lloyd and his stepfather painted a map of an imaginary island, and this was the inspiration for Stevenson's classic Treasure Island. Although he would study engineering at the University of Edinburgh Osbourne desired to become a writer, an idea that was encouraged by his stepfather.

South Seas with Stevenson[edit]

In June 1888, Stevenson chartered a yacht and set sail with his new family from San Francisco across the Pacific Ocean, visiting important island groups.[1] They stopped for an extended stay in the Hawaiian Islands where Stevenson became good friends with King Kalākaua.

in 1890 Lloyd Osbourne, his mother and Stevenson sailed from Sydney, Australia, into the central Pacific on the steam ship the Janet Nicoll.[2] Lloyd Osbourne and Stevenson used a plate camera to photograph Pacific Islanders and passengers and crew of the Janet Nicoll.[3] A passenger on the Janet Nicoll was Jack Buckland, whom Lloyd Osbourne and Stevenson used as a character in The Wrecker (1892).

In 1890 the family settled in Samoa, where Stevenson died four years later on December 3. In 1894 Osbourne was appointed vice consul to represent the United States in Samoa.

On April 9, 1896, Osbourne married Katherine Durham in Honolulu and was divorced in 1914. Their children were Alan (b. 1897) and Louis (b. 1900). In 1916 they remarried on condition that there should be no more children, and later divorced again.

Later years[edit]

Osbourne spent the period of 1936 in the South of France with Yvonne Payerne, forty years his junior, by whom he had another son Samuel (born in Nice, 1936 and died in Los Angeles in 2006) when he was 68 years old. In 1941, Osbourne returned alone to the U.S. when America entered the war. Yvonne and Samuel arrived in New York on May 22, 1947, the same day that he died in California.

Stevenson in Vailima. Lloyd Osbourne is sitting on the left

Collaborations with Robert Louis Stevenson[edit]

Other works[edit]

  • The Queen Versus Billy and other stories (1900)
  • Forty Years Between (March 1903)
  • Love, The Fiddler (1903)
  • The Fugitives of Pleasure (February 1904)
  • The Motormaniacs (1905)
  • Wild Justice: Stories of the South Seas (1921)
  • An Intimate Portrait of R L S By His Stepson (1924)

References[edit]

  1. ^ In the South Seas (1896) & (1900) Chatto & Windus; republished by The Hogarth Press (1987). A collection of Stevenson's articles and essays on his travels in the Pacific
  2. ^ Janet Nicoll is the correct spelling of trading steamer owned by Henderson and Macfarlane of Auckland, New Zealand, which operated between Sydney, Auckland and into the central Pacific. Fanny Vandegrift Stevenson miss-names the ship as the Janet Nicol in her account of the 1890 voyage, which was published as The Cruise of the Janet Nichol among the South Sea Islands A Diary by Mrs Robert Louis Stevenson (first published 1914), republished 2004, editor, Roslyn Jolly (U. of Washington Press/U. of New South Wales Press)
  3. ^ photographs published in The Cruise of the Janet Nichol among the South Sea Islands A Diary by Mrs Robert Louis Stevenson (first published 1914), republished 2004, editor, Roslyn Jolly (U. of Washington Press/U. of New South Wales Press)