Dorothy Emily Stevenson


Dorothy Emily Stevenson was born in Edinburgh on the 18th of November 1892. She lived in Scotland all her life. Most of her over 40 books were written in Dumfriesshire. She was related to the famous Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, who was her father's first cousin. Dorothy was educated at home by a governess and began to write stories and poems at the age of eight.

Dorothy Emily Peploe at age six. It is titled "Dear Little Miss Moffat".

Melville Street, Edinburgh, where she lived as a child. Her home was the one on the right, covered by scaffolding.

She was 24 when she married Captain James Reid Peploe of the 6th Gurkha Rifles in 1916. The Peploes had four children, one of whom Robin, has written an article of memories of his mother.
Geraldine obtained DES's marriage certificate and shared this about it:
I have just received a copy of DES's and James Reid Peploe's marriage certificate. As this is a photocopy of the original some words are not distinct.The wedding took place at St Johns Church, Edinburgh on 20 January 1916, according to the forms of the Scottish Episcopal Church after banns. James is given as being aged 29 Captain 6th Gurkha Rifles, living at University Club, Edinburgh. His father was also named James Reid Peploe,Major 4th Highland Light Infantry (retired? word is not clear). James's (junior) mother was Anna Peploe nee Fleming.Dorothy Emily Stevenson aged 23 of 14 Eglinton Crescent, Edinburgh, father David Alan Stevenson FRSE M Mst C E Engineer to the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses, mother Annie Stevenson nee Roberts. The witnesses were D A Stevenson and C? R Peploe.

I thought you might be interested to have this extra piece of information about DES. I'd known she was married in 1916 but not the exact date, or the number of the house in Eglinton Crescent that the family moved to from Melville Street.
FonDESt regards

Dorothy Emily Stevenson's wedding photograph.
Her first published novel was Peter West , which had appeared as a serial in Chambers Journal . Mrs. Tim of the Regiment was written in 1932 and has sequels: Mrs. Tim Carries On (1941), Mrs. Tim gets a Job (1947) , and Mrs. Tim Flies Home (1952). The Mrs. Tim books actually grew out of Dorothy's diaries she had kept as an "army wife" and were very successful.

While Mrs. Tim (Her name was actually Hester Christie and Tim was her husband) was very popular with readers both in Great Britain and overseas, another character, Miss Buncle, also accumulated many fans when she first appeared in Miss Buncle's Book in 1934. Those who loved Miss Buncle were delighted to see her reappear in Miss Buncle Gets Married (1936) and The Two Mrs. Abbots (1943). The readers of D. E. Stevenson's novels are often gratified by her tendency to allow her characters to "come back" in sequels to their original books, either as main characters, secondary characters or in cameos.

Those who read D. E. Stevenson's books for their cosy portrayal of friendship, love and family life are often surprised that she wrote An Empty World in 1936 which can best be described as science fiction! The setting is 1973 and deals with the aftermath of the destruction of life on earth by a giant comet.

The themes and plots of the eight books D. E. Stevenson wrote during the World War II were of course affected by the turmoil and uncertainty of the times. They were The English Air (1940), Mrs. Tim Carries On (1941), Spring Magic (1942), Crooked Adam (1942), Celia's House (1943), The Two Mrs. Abbotts (1943), Listening Valley (1944) and The Four Graces (1946).

In 1943 she and her husband moved to Moffat in Dumfriesshire where they were to spend the rest of their lives.

In her fifties, D. E. Stevenson contracted arthritis,but it did not slow her down in terms of her writing, as she produced a novel a year between 1952 and 1969. The last novel she wrote was Gerald and Elizabeth , written the same year her husband died.

D. E. Stevenson died on 30th December 1973, at the age of 81 and was buried in the cemetery above the town of Moffat in Dumfriesshire, where she had lived for thirty years.


Main Page