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Unveiling of the tablet at RLS Cottage Museum

The Cottage Museum's Past

October 30, 1915, the Stevenson Memorial Committee had a public meeting at the cottage in Saranac Lake where Stevenson had lived in 1887-1888. They unveiled a large bronze bas-relief tablet of Stevenson by Gutzon Borglum, the American sculptor best remembered for his work on Mount Rushmore. The tablet depicted Stevenson on the verandah of Baker Cottage wearing a buffalo robe in the cold Adirondack winter, a scene captured in a photograph, and was displayed in the same place. The committee resolved to form a permanent organization—The Stevenson Society of America—to collect and preserve Stevenson’s “relics,” belongings, books, and manuscripts. Borglum was Honorary Vice President. Other founding members included prominent business leaders, physicians, and some of most prominent journalists and newspaper executives in America. The newly formed Society arranged to rent rooms from the Baker family as an exhibit display and purchased the house ten years later in 1925 as a permanent home for the collection, which grew considerably as Stevenson’s family members, friends, and admirers donated artifacts. The Stevenson Society of America opened membership “to anyone interested in the author and his works and who desire to spread his brave philosophy of living.” 

Over the Society’s history, several of its leaders have been particularly instrumental in the preservation of the Cottage Museum and its collection through generous support with their time, skills, and financial resources. These include Stephen Chalmers, Robert Hobart Davis, Dr. Hugh Kinghorn, Col. Walter Scott, and others. Over the past 70 years, however, nobody has done more or deserves greater thanks than the Delahant Family, who have maintained the Stevenson Cottage, cared for the collection, and have shared it expertly and warmly with the public as resident curators and caretakers for three generations. Beginning with John F. Delahant Sr. in 1953, to his wife Maude Delahant, his son John “Jack” F. Delahant Jr., and down to his grandson Mike Delahant, who has served as resident curator since 1980, this family has kept the Robert Louis Stevenson Cottage Museum preserved and open, volunteering their time and donating their money to preserve the memory of Stevenson in Saranac Lake.

70 Years and Three Generations of Delahant Family Curators 

Young Mike Delahant with his grandfather
Young Tom Delahant with his grandmother
Jack Delahant welcomes visitors to the RLS Cottage Museum
Mike Delahant standing where Stevenson stood at the RLS Cottage Museum




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