Fanny Stevenson

"My life," Fanny Stevenson once said, "resembles a wild ride on the crest of a wave that rolls and never breaks." Born in Indiana in 1841, she followed her first husband to the gold fields of Nevada when she was 23, ran away to France to study art with three young children in tow, fell in love with a gaunt young Scotsman named Robert Louis Stevenson and roamed the world with him, ending up in Western Samoa, where her husband, author of "Treasure Island" and "Kidnapped," died in 1894. In a letter to a friend written in 1875, Fanny described herself as a "clinging vine." "I do not want to be the stately oak and stand alone," she said. "It makes me lonesome. . . ." But her remarkable life and travels don't exactly bear this out. -- Susan Spano Read more: A 'clinging vine' who flourished as vigorously as any stately oak Upper photo: Western Samoa
David Bohl / NPS
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