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Series II: Manuscripts, 1828-1960

Call Number: GEN MSS 664, Series II

Scope and Contents

The arrangement in Series II largely preserves the arrangement of manuscript material documented in volume five of McKay's A Stevenson Library Catalogue. Exceptions, including notebooks and works, are discussed below in greater detail. Manuscripts described in volume six of the Catalogue, the Addenda & Corrigenda, have also been interfiled in the appropriate Series II subseries. Folder headings listed here are intended to aid in discovery and retrieval; they do not duplicate the richer description, including physical characteristics and publication information, provided in McKay's Catalogue. McKay numbers follow each title.

Manuscripts by Robert Louis Stevenson consists of writings and other materials, such as notes and lists, in Stevenson's hand. The collection contains drafts of "more than half the poems" to several collections of poetry, including both Underwoods (1887) and Songs of Travel and Other Verses (1896), and complete or partial drafts to several prose works, including Catriona (1893), The Ebb-Tide (1894), In the South Seas (1896) and St. Ives (1897). There are also portions of the last three chapters of Stevenson's famous Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886).

According to McKay, and evident from the drafts themselves, "it was Stevenson's habit... to write poems, and to some extent prose pieces, in notebooks." In earlier processing of the collection, reflected in the description in volume five of the Catalogue, all titles (or items) were arranged and listed in a single alphabetical run. In reprocessing, however, and in this guide to the collection, notebooks and works containing multiple titles have been treated as units. The notebooks are now arranged by number (e.g. "51") or title (e.g. "RLS/C") under the supplied heading [Notebooks]; it is not clear whether the notebook headings are in the hand of Robert Louis Stevenson or someone else. As a rule, titles within notebooks are not listed in the general run of manuscripts as they are in McKay. Please note that this results in apparent gaps in the sequence of McKay numbers. For example, the first title, "In Abererch" (5929) is followed by ["About the world with bag on back..."] (5933). The intervening titles/numbers (5930-5932) can be found in notebooks and works; titles can be searched within the finding aid by keyword or McKay number. In some cases, for example, where there are multiple drafts for a particular title, there are references to the notebooks.

A few notebooks have been reassembled on the basis of physical evidence and recommendations by Stevenson scholars, most notably Roger Swearingen, though many manuscripts also contain notes by George S. Hellman.

Works or groups of material with a common heading are filed under the title of the work and, as with notebooks, individual items are listed in a folder note. References are provided from the general run of titles only when the location is not clear from the description in McKay.

In this collection, a significant number of manuscript items are bound with others. In these cases, references to physical locations are provided in folder notes. The arrangement of loose manuscript items, such as drafts of different poems on the recto and verso of a single sheet, has been preserved and, here too, references to physical locations are provided in folder notes.

Volume five of McKay's Catalogue also describes manuscripts found in correspondence and printed materials. References to manuscripts located in Series I. Correspondence are provided in the list below. References to presentation inscriptions in printed materials, however, have not been preserved in this guide; manuscript notes and inscriptions are commonly documented in the catalog records in Orbis.

Manuscripts by Others consists of writings by family members, writings by others about Stevenson, and documents relating to Stevenson. Writings by family members features the diaries of Margaret Isabella Stevenson, in forty-seven volumes dating from 1853 to 1897, and various works, as well as notebooks, by Thomas Stevenson. Writings by others consists chiefly of reflections on Stevenson and his work. Documents include legal and financial records, such as wills, conveyances, and royalty statements.


  • 1828-1960


Language of Materials

From the Collection:

Chiefly in English; some materials in Samoan, French, and German.

Conditions Governing Access

From the Collection:

The materials are open for research.

Restricted Fragile Papers in box 134 may be consulted only with permission of the appropriate curator. Preservation photocopies or photographic prints for reference use have been substituted in the main files.


Series II. Manuscripts is organized into two subseries: Manuscripts by Robert Louis Stevenson and Manuscripts by Others.


13.35 Linear Feet (34 boxes)

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

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Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.