Isobel Osbourne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Isobel Osbourne
Photo of Isobel Osbourne.jpg
Died1953 (aged 94–95)
Known forStepdaughter of Robert Louis Stevenson
Joseph Dwight Strong
(m. 1879; div. 1892)

Edward Salisbury Field
(m. 1914; died 1936)
Parent(s)Samuel Osbourne
Fanny Van de Grift
RelativesLloyd 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, and had a son, Austin Strong (1881–1952) who later became a successful playwright.[1] A second son was born to the Strongs, but he died before his first birthday. Belle and her family 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] Joe Strong had a drinking problem and Belle divorced him in 1892.[1]

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

External links[edit]