Robert Louis Stevenson’s Baby Book (1922)


Stevenson’s baby book, being the record of the sayings and doings of Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson, son of Thomas Stevenson, C.E. and Margaret Isabella Balfour or Stevenson; 1922; John Howell / J.H. Nash, San Francisco .

A remarkable record of the first few years of author Robert Louis Stevenson’s life, as noted down by his mother in a “Baby Book”. The book featured above, published in 1922, consists of a facsimile of the original handwritten baby book followed by a transcription. Amid various baby-related milestones, such as first teeth, crawl, walk, etc., we hear reports of a young “Lou” (also called “Boulihasker, Smoutie, Baron Broadnose, Signor Sprucki,.. Maister Sprook”) first engaging with and questioning the world around him… here’s a few little golden snippets:

When 1 year old…

Jan 13th: Smout gives up his forenoon sleep and calls books “oufs” because he expects to find pictures of dogs in them.

3 years old…

April 17th: When Smout was drawing pictures he said “I have drawed a man’s body, shall I do his soul now?”

4 years old…

January 10th : When Lou saw the sun looking red he said “It’s just like a great big orange thrown up into the sky.”

February 6th: Lou dreamt that “he heard the noise of pens writing.”

March 17th: Smout’s dream ” I dreamt that I was going downstairs and I saw a Russian bear looking out at the pantry door, and it came up and took hold of my foot and I awoke and it was just a dream.”

March 27th: Another dream.” I dreamt that I was at a marriage and a boy asked me to go to his room and when I looked out at the window I saw a basket hanging down from the sky and it was full of doors all around and somebody gave me something that wasn’t good for me and I would not take it.” The something appeared to be a cookie of some kind and he said the basket “was hung on a nail driven into a cloud.”

Housed at: Internet Archive | From: California Digital Library
Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights
Download: PDF | Torrent






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