Stevenson Society of America

Adirondack Record-Elizabethtown Post, July 23, 1953


The Stevenson Society of America have completed plans for the 48th annual meeting to be held at the Robert Louis Stevenson home in Saranac Lake on Saturday, July 25.

The Society, made up of many distinguished personages throughout the world, including two former presidents of the United States, each year assembled to pay honor to the immortal author of “Treasure Island" and other masterpieces at his former home in Saranac Lake.

In 1925 the Society purchased the Stevenson Home and dedicated it as a national shrine. Since then Stevenson lovers from all over the world have contributed various personal mementos and rare articles of Stevenson lore.

Among these are Stevenson's smoking jacket with a sprig of heather in the breast pocket which is sent from Scotland by a member of the Society each year, the ice skates Stevenson wore to cut a fancy figure on nearby Moody Pond, his yachting cap, original manuscripts, childhood photographs, a lock of his hair, original letters, and literally hundreds of articles of Stevenson lore.

Everyone who visits this memorial feels the nearness of this immortal writer, especially when viewing these, mementos and the Stevenson bust by the great sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, who contributed his services as a personal tribute to Stevenson, “the great sculptor of words.”

Here in this mountain community that Stevenson called “The Little Switzerland in the Adirondacks,” he composed the twelve essays published as the Charles Scribners series which included “The Master of Ballantrae,” “A Christmas Sermon,” “The Wrong Box,” and many others.

Dr. Hugh M. Kinghorn is president of the Society.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, August 12, 1958

A Letter to the Editor

Dear Sir;

The so deeply lamented passing of John F. Delahant has caused many old residents to turn back the pages of their Book of Memories to that period of thirty years ago when the Stevenson Society and Cottage were in their heyday.

At that period in the late twenties and early thirties, the annual meeting of the Stevenson Society was one of the highlights of the social season for the entire Adirondack region, the guests coming from all the leading resorts. Many came from Canada and some from abroad. A really international gathering.

While most of the guests were sincere admirers of the beloved R.L.S. there is but little doubt many were also attracted by the fame and quality of the speakers, among whom are recalled Duncan Maclnnes, Royal Chief of the Scottish Bands of America, who was played into and out of the meeting by his own personal Piper in full clan regalia. Also, the Rev. Charles R. Erdman of Princeton; Will H. Low, noted artist, author and intimate friend of R.L.S.; President E.A. Alderman of the University of Virginia; Poultney Bigelow, famous writer and speaker whose recent death was noted by newspapers throughout the entire nation. Also Col. Walter Scott, long the "angel" of the Society, also its president, whose interest in the Society and its welfare continued until the day of his death, as well as Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, sterling friend of Saranac Lake. There were other speakers of like distinction.

Old timers also recall highlights of the meetings such as the little groups of avid R.L.S. lovers gathered about and so eagerly questioning old Andrew Baker who was sometimes close to being overwhelmed. Of the so stunningly uniformed pipers provided by Col. Scott to give a real Scott background and music to the meeting. Of the announcement by Dr. Lawrason Brown, president of the Society, of the gift of one thousand dollars by J. Pierpont Morgan, to pay off the last bit of debt owed by the Society at that time. Of the beautifully dressed groups of guests gathered beneath the trees and on the lawn drinking tea provided and served by our ladies of the Reviewers Club. Of the attendance at the 1929 meeting of Baron Nobile Giacoma de Martino, the Italian Ambassador to the United States, spending the summer at Saranac Lake. With him were some of the ladies of the Embassy.

They can close their eyes and see others in the crowd who for a long time had been interested in and working for the Society. They again see so clearly William Morris, Livingston Chapman, Walter Cluett, Maurice Feustmann, Dr. Hugh N. Kinghorn, Dr. J. Woods Price, Peyton Clarke, Harry H. Gay, Stephen Chalmers and others who had an abiding interest in the Shrine for R.L.S. They are also aware of how many missing faces there would be if they tried to assemble that-same group today.

One will never forget how thrilled the townsfolk were when it was announced by Col. Scott that he had signed up more than 30 new life Members for the Society, some of them being internationally famous, such as Sir Thomas Lipton and Sir Harry Lauder, to say nothing of various millionaires and multi-millionaires.

But with the passing of the years and the passing of most of the wealthy supporters, the shrine in the little white house above the rushing Saranac came upon evil days. The interest of the townsfolk in the Society dwindled to almost nothing compared to the old days and the cottage became badly rundown.

However, conditions were not hopeless, as there always remained a small group in the village who realized to the full the great value of the Shrine and Society to the community. One of the leaders of this group was Tony Anderson, who as village president was in a position to do something about it. He worked on the Village Board until he persuaded them to purchase the Cottage and to start immediate work to restore the Shrine and its surroundings to its former state. He has had the wholehearted support the Village Board. The village got a real bargain.

Tony Anderson was also mainly responsible for the securing of John F. Delahant as curator. No better choice could have been made. With his love for and special knowledge of R.L.S. the new curator proved a real mine of information to the many visitors at the Cottage. His friendly and courteous manner and real affection for Saranac Lake quickly endeared him to all the townsfolk. His sudden death tugged heavily on the heart strings- of the entire community. He will be sorely missed and hard to replace.

Albert I. Evans

Adirondack Enterprise, August 26, 1925


Joe Mitchell Chapple Will Deliver Address at the Annual Gathering


Col. Walter Scott Is Also Coming to Preside at Session

Joining company with Samuel S. McClure, Will H. Low and others great in the world of art and letters who have made a like pilgrimage in recent years, Joe Mitchell Chappell, editor of the National Magazine, will pay tribute at the shrine of Robert Louis Stevenson in Saranac Lake on Saturday.

Chapple will deliver the address of the occasion at the annual meeting of the Stevenson Society of America, on Saturday afternoon at the Stevenson Memorial cottage, the recent acquisition of which by the society will be especially celebrated at this time.

With all persons regardless of membership cordially invited to be present by the directors of the society, the meeting will commence promptly at 3 o'clock with Col. Walter Scott, president of the society, in the chair.

Tea will be served by the Reviewers' Club of Saranac Lake, an organization of women closely associated with the Stevenson society in its many public activities.

Weather permitting, the meeting will be held on the lawn in front of the memorial cottage, which is reached from the business section by way of Main and Pine streets.

For years the familiar setting of similar gatherings, the cottage will be visited by Stevenson lovers on this occasion with a renewed interest and the most successful [illegible] will be made by Livingston Chapman, secretary, and Raymond Obenchain, treasurer, following which the address by Mr. Chapple will be heard. The meeting will close according to the time honored custom with the singing of Auld Lang Syne.

August 26, 1925


Resolution Adopted at Convention in Springfield Held Last Week

A resolution expressing sympathy and comradeship with the Stevenson Society of America, Inc., was adopted by the Order of Scottish Clans at the convention held last week in Springfield, Mass.

A copy of this resolution has been forwarded to Livingston Chapman, of Saranac Lake, secretary of the Stevenson Society. The act especially honors Walter Scott of New York city, president of the society and a Past Royal Chief of the Scottish Clans.

The resolution follows:

Whereas, it has been brought to the attention of the Royal Clan, Order of Scottish Clans, an American fraternal beneficiary organization, founded at St. Louis, Missouri on St. Andrew's Day, November 20, 1878, the largest body of organized Scotsmen and their descendants in the world, that "The Robert. Louis Stevenson Society of America, Inc." was organized October 20, 1915, and Whereas, the purposes and objects of said Society are as follows, to wit:

  1. To honor the memory of Ro-bert Louis Stevenson.

  2. The collection and Preservation of relics of his life and work.

  3. The encouragement of a greater knowledge and reading of his works.

  4. The collection and preservation of books, pictures, manuscripts .etc., relating to Robert Louis Stevenson.

  5. The ultimate acquirement of a permanent home for the proper housing of the collections.

  6. The annual meeting of said Society in the State of New York, at the Saranac Lake Cottage, occupied by Stevenson during the years of 1887 and 1888, at which meeting shall be held the election of officers, a review of its work for the previous year, and to hear and discuss new papers on the subject of Robert Louis Stevenson, and

    Whereas, one of the projects of said Order of Scottish Clans is to cultivate fond recollections of Scot land, its history and traditions, its literature and ideals, its minstrelsy and song, and

    Whereas, said Royal Clan is in hearty accord and sympathy with the purposes and Objects of said Society and is desirous of giving minstrelsy and song, and

    Whereas, it is everywhere recognized that Stevenson's genius, his philosophy, his exquisite humor, his kindly sympathy and dauntless courage, coupled with fond anticipation for its continued success and prosperity; and be it further

    Resolved: that the Royal Chief and Royal Secretary he and they are hereby authorized, instructed and empowered to execute this Resolution on behalf of the Royal Clan and forward same to the Secretary of "The Robert Louis Stevenson Society, Inc."

    Done in Convention assembled this 21st day of August, 1925.

    THOMAS W. FORSYTH, Royal Counsellor.

Lake Placid News, November 25, 1921


Celebrated by Dinner at St. Regis Hotel by Stevenson Society

Opening with "Annie Laurie" and closing with all joining hands and singing "Auld Lang Syne," the Stevenson Society of Saranac Lake commemorated the 74th anniversary of Robert Louis Stevenson's birth with a dinner at the St. Regis Hotel, Saranac Lake, Monday evening, The capacity of the hotel was crowded to its limit and for the first time in the celebrations of the society there were far more applicants for tickets than the accommodations provided for. Each member was supplied with a sprig of Scotch heather through the thoughtfulness of Mr. Alexander W. Smith, of the State of Washington, who has always remembered the Stevenson Society in this manner on the occasion of its annual dinners.

Mr. Ernest Baldwin, the special speaker of the evening, stated that since the subject of R. L. S. had been approached from almost every possible angle, he chose for his subject a speculation on what Stevenson might have been had he lived out a normal three score and ten. He reminded his hearers that Stevenson had missed four great wars, beginning with the Spanish-American War, and that from his seclusion in a South Sea island Stevenson might have heard the guns of Dewey at Manila. He felt certain that Stevenson would have been greatly perturbed by the change in the world's affairs.

"I believe that the genius of Stevenson was the genius of youth," said the speaker. "I believe that Stevenson was ready to lay down his pen when his death came at the age of 44. Furthermore, Stevenson was living within fifteen degrees of the Equator, and it is held that white men can do no work of any account if they live within twenty-five degrees of that line."

Dr. Lawrason Brown informed the Society that he had recently purchased in a book-shop in New York a copy of a Stevenson dictionary formerly in Stevenson's library in Samoa. On a flyleaf of this book is a prayer in the author's own handwriting. Photographic copies of this prayer were distributed to all the members. The dictionary was formerly in the collection of George D. Smith, the noted book connoisseur, and will now be added to the Stevenson mementoes in the Memorial Cottage at Saranac Lake. The Stevenson Memorial Cottage is maintained by the society and it is visited each year by thousands of tourists. Stevenson spent one winter in Saranac Lake and wrote some of his finest work while there. According as the funds of the society permit, additions to the Stevenson collection are constantly being sought out and purchased. The singing of the evening was led by Dr. Livingston Chapman, and two notable renditions were Stevenson's favorite song, "Sing Me a Song of the Love that is Gone," and Stevenson's own epitaph set to music, "Under the Wide and Starry Sky."

Other speakers of the occasion were Livingston Chapman, C. H. E. Griffith and Rev. G. K. Newell.

"We come here tonight to pay respect to the memory of one who made the world better for his having" been in it," said Mr. Chapman, "Memory may lead to all sorts of maudlin sentiment," he continued, "if not properly leavened with common sense, It may become a fetich. [sic] It may blossom forth into a luxuriant crop of hero-worshippers whose chief aim is that they may shine in the reflected glory of their idol. But these perverted forms are foreign to genuine esteem or admiration. Had Stevenson no other claim to fame and the love and thanks of the world, the entertainment he has provided for the ill and forlorn and the doctrine of hope that he constantly preaches would entitle him to our benisons. By the exercise of an indomitable will he himself rose superior to his afflictions. There is no gainsaying: the fact that the children of his brain have given countless hours of pleasure and relaxation to persons all over the world, to those in robust health as well as to the invalids and shut-ins."