Two LAPL Love Stories

Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Literature & Fiction,
Love tree

Los Angeles Public Library has several branches and community rooms named in honor of notable writers. Two branches are named in honor of writers whose lives include wonderful love stories.

The Will & Ariel Durant Branch:

He was a Jesuit trained Canadian who had considered becoming a priest but chose teaching. She was born in Russia to Jewish parents who immigrated to the United States. Will and Ariel met at the Ferrer School in New York City, where he was a teacher and she was one of his more rambunctious students. When they married he was 28 years old and she was 15 years old. Ariel said that on her wedding day, “I roller-skated all the way down from Harlem to City Hall.” Will Durant wrote many books about philosophy, but the two of them worked on a magnum opus, The Story of Civilization. Will and Ariel Durant were married for over 67 years, and lived and worked in Los Angeles. When Ariel died at 83, Will was not told but died two weeks later. In their own words, here is their story, A Dual Autobiography.

Robert Louis Stevenson Branch:

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote prolifically in several genres. He is well known for Kidnapped,The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Treasure Island, and a collection of poetry for children, A Child’s Garden of Verses. Born in Scotland, he always suffered from frail health and took many trips to warmer climates. A fortuitous trip to Paris proved to be a life-changing experience. In 1876 the young unknown writer met the older, twice-married Fanny Van de Grift Osbourne. It appeared to be love at first sight for both of them. She brought inspiration to his work, and looked after his health and writing. The biography, Fanny Stevenson: A Romance of Destiny, is the story of a woman ahead of her time, who changed the life of a young writer.

For Valentine's Day, or any day of the year, LAPL Reads suggests some books about love and romance: