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Louis Stevenson

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1) Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson was born on November 13, 1850 in Edinburgh, Scotland. His parents were Thomas and Margaret Stevenson. His father came from an engineering family that had built many deep-sea lighthouses, and his mother came from a family of church ministers and lawyers.

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2) Stevenson learned about his desire to write early in life. He had gone to Edinburgh University to study engineering so he could continue his father's lighthouse business. However, lighthouse engineering had never really been what he thought he should do with his life. So, he began studying law, but after traveling to France and seeing young writers and painters, he discovered his true calling to writing.

3) Stevenson met his wife Fanny Osbourne after his "inland voyage" at Grez, a village south-east of Paris, in September of 1876. His wife had two children and was separated from her previous husband. In 1879, Stevenson set out on a long journey to California so he could join her there. They were married in 1880.

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4) Robert and Fanny took a two month honeymoon trip, and three of those weeks were at an abandoned silver mine in Napa Valley, California. This trip led Stevenson to write "The Silverado Squatters" in 1883. This book was his travel memoir of his honeymoon trip with Fanny.

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5) In the1880's, Stevenson came across some health issues. He had hemorrhaging lungs which were probably from undiagnosed tuberculosis. So while he was confined to bed, Stevenson wrote some of his most popular fiction. For example, Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Black Arrow.

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6) Stevenson's idea to write Treasure Island came from a map that he had drawn for his 12- year old stepson. After publishing it in 1883, he had finally begun his profitable career as a writer. By the end of the 1880's, Treasure Island had become one of the most popular and widely read books of that time.

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7) In 1886, Stevenson published "Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde." The book was a huge success and solidified Stevenson's reputation. The book also inspired countless stage productions and more than 100 motion pictures.

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8) In June of 1888, Stevenson and his family set sail to the Pacific Ocean stoping at some of their islands. One of the islands they stopped at was the Hawaiian islands where they became good friends with King Kalakaua. In 1889, they decided to settle in the Samoan Islands. The island stimulated Stevenson's imagination allowing him to write about the Pacific Isles.

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9) Aside from writing, Stevenson started playing the piano at the age of 36. He went on to write 123 musical compositions. Three of which were published.

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10) In a way, Stevenson sort of invented the sleeping bag. In "Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes," Stevenson mentions crafting a sleeping sack which is what a sleeping bag is. He said that it was made of, "green waterproof cart cloth without and blue sheep's fur within."

11) Robert Louis Stevenson died of a stroke in December of 1894. He was buried at the top of Mount Vaea which was above his home on Samoa. Written on his tomb was, "Under the wide and starry sky,/ Dig the grave and let me lie..." which was from his own short poem, "Requiem."

12) After Stevenson passed, a museum of his possessions and works was opened in the town of Apia. Also, his great connections with the Island's people got him the name of Tusitala ("Teller of Tales.") This must of been because of the great things he wrote and published.

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