Isobel Osbourne

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Isobel Osbourne
Photo of Isobel Osbourne.jpg
Born 1858
Died 1953 (aged 94–95)
Nationality American
Known for Stepdaughter of Robert Louis Stevenson
Spouse(s) Joseph Dwight Strong (m. 1879; div. 1892)
Edward Salisbury Field (m. 1914; d. 1936)
Children 1
Parent(s) Samuel Osbourne
Fanny Van de Grift
Relatives Lloyd Osbourne (brother)
Allen Herbert’s House, 1896 watercolor painting by Isobel Osbourne, Honolulu Museum of Art

Isobel "Belle" Osbourne Strong Field (1858–1953) was the daughter of Fanny Stevenson and sister of Lloyd Osbourne. Through her mother's second marriage, she was a stepdaughter of Robert Louis Stevenson.


Belle was born in Indianapolis to Samuel and Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne and married the artist Joseph Dwight Strong (1853–1899) in 1879, giving birth soon after to a son, Austin Strong (1881–1952) who later became a successful playwright.[1] Joe Strong had a drinking problem and Belle divorced him in 1892.[1] Belle moved to Vailima, Samoa, in May 1891 with her mother and step-father. There she was Robert Louis Stevenson's literary assistant transcribing his words when he was too ill to write.[2]

In 1914, she married her mother's secretary (and possibly lover), the younger journalist Edward Salisbury Field, six months after her mother died.[1] Field was only three years older than her son Austin. When oil was discovered on property owned by Field they became wealthy.[3] In 1926 Field purchased Zaca Lake and surrounding land in the Figueroa Mountains near Los Olivos, California.[4]

Isobel built an artists' studio there and the Field home became a popular meeting place for writers and actors.[5] Isobel and her brother Lloyd wrote about Robert Louis Stevenson and their experiences in Samoa in Memories of Vailima (1902). Later Isobel wrote her memoirs in two books This Life I've Loved (1937) and A Bit of My Life (1951).


  1. ^ a b c Belle Strong - Stepdaughter Archived 2012-03-20 at the Wayback Machine. at Robert Louis Stevenson website.
  2. ^ "Robert Louis Stevenson's Family". The RLS Website. September 25, 2015. Retrieved September 25, 2015. 
  3. ^ Claire Harman. Myself and the Other Fellow: A Life of Robert Lewis Stevenson, HarperCollins 2006, pg.460
  4. ^ "Zaca Lake history". Zaca Lake Foundation. Archived from the original on May 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ Salisbury Field, bio at IMDB

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