Robert Louis Stevenson Gave His Birthday Away to a Little Girl


When he was 41 years old, Robert Louis Stevenson gave his birthday away to a young girl named Annie, the daughter of the American Land Commissioner in Samoa, who was understandably bummed out by the fact that her own birthday fell on Christmas. Letters of Note posted the entire “legal” document that the Treasure Island author sent her, but we were most tickled by the section featuring his “conditions,” namely: “I direct the said A. H. Ide to add to her said name of A. H. Ide the name Louisa — at least in private; and I charge her to use my said birthday with moderation and humanity, et tamquam bona filia familiae, the said birthday not being so young as it once was and having carried me in a very satisfactory manner since I can remember…” The consequence if she failed to live up to her end of the bargain? Stevenson vowed to “revoke the donation and transfer my rights in the said birthday to the President of the United States of America.” Pretty adorable, right? Sadly, after a lifelong battle with ill health (which is why he ended up in Samoa in the first place), Stevenson would die only three years later.