Lucy Maud Montgomery
|Lucy Maud Montgomery|
L. M. Montgomery ca. 1897
November 30, 1874|
Clifton, Prince Edward Island
|Died||April 24, 1942
|Education||Prince of Wales College, Dalhousie University|
|Genre||Canadian literature, children's novels|
|Spouse||Ewen ("Ewan") Macdonald|
Lucy Maud Montgomery OBE (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942), publicly known as L. M. Montgomery, was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning in 1908 with Anne of Green Gables. Anne of Green Gables was an immediate success. The central character, Anne, an orphaned girl, made Montgomery famous in her lifetime and gave her an international following. The first novel was followed by a series of sequels with Anne as the central character. Montgomery went on to publish 20 novels as well as 530 short stories, 500 poems, and 30 essays. Most of the novels were set in Prince Edward Island, and locations within Canada's smallest province became literary landmarks and popular tourist sites—namely Green Gables farm, the genesis of Prince Edward Island National Park. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935. (There were no Canadian orders, decorations or medals for civilians until the 1970s.)
Montgomery's work, diaries and letters have been read and studied by scholars and readers worldwide.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Writing career, romantic interests, and family life
- 3 Honors and awards
- 4 Works
- 5 References
- 6 Further reading
- 7 External links
Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in Clifton (now New London), Prince Edward Island on November 30, 1874. Her mother, Clara Woolner Macneill Montgomery, died of tuberculosis when Maud was 21 months old. Stricken with grief over his wife’s death, Hugh John Montgomery gave custody over to Montgomery’s maternal grandparents. Later he moved to Prince Albert, North-West Territories (now Prince Albert, Saskatchewan) when Montgomery was seven years old. She went to live with her maternal grandparents, Alexander Marquis Macneill and Lucy Woolner Macneill, in the nearby community of Cavendish and was raised by them in a strict and unforgiving manner. Montgomery’s early life in Cavendish was very lonely. Despite having relations nearby, much of her childhood was spent alone. Montgomery credits this time of her life, in which she created many imaginary friends and worlds to cope with her loneliness, with developing her creative mind.
Montgomery completed her early education in Cavendish with the exception of one year (1890–1891) during which time she was in Prince Albert with her father and her step-mother, Mary Ann McRae. In November 1890, while in Prince Albert, Montgomery's first work, a poem entitled "On Cape LeForce"., was published in the Charlottetown paper, The Daily Patriot. She was as excited about this as she was about her return to her beloved Prince Edward Island in 1891. The return to Cavendish was a great relief to her. Her time in Prince Albert was unhappy due to the fact that Montgomery and McRae did not get along and because by, "... Maud’s account, her father's marriage was not a happy one." In 1893, following the completion of her grade school education in Cavendish, she attended Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, and obtained a teacher's license. She completed the two-year program in one year. In 1895 and 1896, she studied literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Writing career, romantic interests, and family life
Upon leaving Dalhousie, Montgomery worked as a teacher in various Prince Edward Island schools. Montgomery did not enjoy her teaching career; however, she was content because it afforded her time to write. Beginning in 1897, she began to have her short stories published in various magazines and newspapers. Montgomery was prolific and had over 100 stories published from 1897 to 1907.
During her teaching years, Montgomery had numerous love interests. As a highly fashionable young woman, she enjoyed "slim, good looks," and she won the attention of several young men. In 1889, at the age of 14, Montgomery began a relationship with a Cavendish boy named Nate Lockhart. To Montgomery, the relationship was merely a humorous and witty friendship. It ended abruptly when Montgomery refused his marriage proposal.
The early 1890s brought unwelcome advances from Mr. John A. Mustard and Will Pritchard. Mr. Mustard, her teacher, quickly became her suitor; he tried to impress her with his knowledge of religious matters. His best topics of conversation were his thoughts on Predestination and "other dry points of theology," which held little appeal for Montgomery. During the period when Mustard’s interest became more pronounced, Montgomery found a new interest in Will Pritchard, the brother of her friend Laura Pritchard. This friendship was more amiable but, again, he felt more for Montgomery than she did for him. When Pritchard sought to take their friendship further, Montgomery resisted. Montgomery refused both marriage proposals; the former was too narrow-minded, and the latter was merely a good chum. She ended the period of flirtation when she moved to Prince Edward Island. However, she and Pritchard did continue to correspond for over six years, until Pritchard caught influenza and died in 1897.
In 1897, Montgomery accepted the proposal of Edwin Simpson, who was a student in French River near Cavendish. Montgomery wrote that she accepted his proposal out of a desire for "love and protection" and because she felt her prospects were rather low. While teaching in Lower Bedeque, she had a brief but passionate romantic attachment to Herman Leard, a member of the family with which she boarded. In 1898, after much unhappiness and disillusionment, Montgomery broke off her engagement to Simpson. Montgomery no longer sought romantic love.
In 1898, Montgomery moved back to Cavendish to live with her widowed grandmother. For a nine-month period between 1901 and 1902, she worked in Halifax as a substitute proofreader for the newspapers Morning Chronicle and The Daily Echo. Montgomery was inspired to write her first books during this time on Prince Edward Island. Until her grandmother's death in March 1911, Montgomery stayed in Cavendish to take care of her. This coincided with a period of considerable income from her publications. Although she enjoyed this income, she was aware that “marriage was a necessary choice for women in Canada.”
In 1908, Montgomery published her first book, Anne of Green Gables. An immediate success, it established Montgomery's career, and she would write and publish material (Including numerous sequels to Anne) continuously for the rest of her life. Shortly after her grandmother's death in 1911, she married Ewen (spelled in her notes and letters as "Ewan") Macdonald (1870–1943), a Presbyterian Minister, and they moved to Ontario where he had taken the position of minister of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Leaskdale in present-day Uxbridge Township, also affiliated with the congregation in nearby Zephyr. Montgomery wrote her next eleven books from the Leaskdale manse. The structure was subsequently sold by the congregation and is now the Lucy Maud Montgomery Leaskdale Manse Museum.
The Macdonalds had three sons; the second was stillborn. The great increase of Montgomery's writings in Leaskdale is the result of her need to escape the hardships of real life. Montgomery underwent several periods of depression while trying to cope with the duties of motherhood and church life and with her husband’s attacks of religious melancholia (endogenous major depressive disorder) and deteriorating health: "For a woman who had given the world so much joy [life] was mostly an unhappy one." For much of her life, writing was her one great solace. Also, during this time, Montgomery was engaged in a series of "acrimonious, expensive and trying lawsuits with the publisher L.C. Page, which dragged on until she finally won in 1929."
Montgomery stopped writing about Anne in about 1920, writing in her journal that she had tired of the character. She preferred instead to create books about other young, female characters, feeling that her strength was writing about characters who were either very young or very old. Other series written by Montgomery include the "Emily" and "Pat" books, which, while successful, did not reach the same level of public acceptance as the "Anne" volumes. She also wrote a number of stand-alone novels, which were also generally successful, if not as successful as her Anne books.
In 1935, upon her husband's retirement, Montgomery moved to Swansea, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, buying a house which she named Journey's End, situated on Riverside Drive along the east bank of the Humber River. Montgomery continued to write, and (in addition to writing other material) returned to writing about Anne after a 15-year hiatus, filling in previously unexplored gaps in the chronology she had developed for the character. She published Anne of Windy Poplars in 1936 and Anne of Ingleside in 1939. Jane of Lantern Hill, a non-Anne novel, was also composed around this time and published in 1937.
In the last year of her life, Montgomery completed what she intended to be a ninth book featuring Anne, titled The Blythes Are Quoted. It included fifteen short stories (many of which were previously published) that she revised to include Anne and her family as mainly peripheral characters; forty-one poems (most of which were previously published) that she attributed to Anne and to her son Walter, who died as a soldier in the Great War; and vignettes featuring the Blythe family members discussing the poems. The book was delivered to Montgomery's publisher on the day of her death, but for reasons unexplained, the publisher declined to issue the book at the time. Montgomery scholar Benjamin Lefebvre speculates that the book's dark tone and anti-war message (Anne speaks very bitterly of WWI in one passage) may have made the volume unsuitable to publish in the midst of the second world war.
An abridged version of this book, which shortened and reorganized the stories and omitted all the vignettes and all but one of the poems, was published as a collection of short stories called The Road to Yesterday in 1974, more than 30 years after the original work had been submitted. A complete edition of The Blythes Are Quoted, edited by Benjamin Lefebvre, was finally published in its entirety by Viking Canada in October 2009, more than 67 years after it was composed.
Death and legacy
Montgomery died on April 24, 1942. A note was found beside her bed, reading, in part, "I have lost my mind by spells and I do not dare think what I may do in those spells. May God forgive me and I hope everyone else will forgive me even if they cannot understand. My position is too awful to endure and nobody realizes it. What an end to a life in which I tried always to do my best."
It was reported in 1942 that Montgomery died from coronary thrombosis in Toronto. However, it was revealed by her granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler, in September 2008 that Montgomery suffered from depression – possibly as a result of caring for her mentally ill husband for decades – and may have taken her own life via a drug overdose. But, there is another point of view. According to Mary Rubio, who wrote a biography of Montgomery, Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings (2008), the message may have been intended to be a journal entry as part of a journal that can no longer be found, rather than a simple suicide note.
During her lifetime, Montgomery published 20 novels, over 500 short stories, an autobiography, and a book of poetry. Aware of her fame, by 1920 Montgomery began editing and recopying her journals, presenting her life as she wanted it remembered. In doing so certain episodes were changed or omitted.
The L.M. Montgomery Institute, founded in 1993, at the University of Prince Edward Island, promotes scholarly inquiry into the life, works, culture, and influence of L.M. Montgomery and coordinates most of the research and conferences surrounding her work. The Montgomery Institute collection consists of novels, manuscripts, texts, letters, photographs, sound recordings and artifacts and other Montgomery ephemera.
Her major collections are archived at the University of Guelph.
The first biography of Montgomery was The Wheel of Things: A Biography of L.M. Montgomery, (1975) written by Mollie Gillen. Dr. Gillen also discovered over 40 of Montgomery's letters to her pen-friend George Boyd MacMillan in Scotland and used them as the basis for her work. Beginning in the 1980s, her complete journals, edited by Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston, were published by the Oxford University Press. From 1988–95, editor Rea Wilmshurst collected and published numerous short stories by Montgomery. Most of her essays, along with interviews with Montgomery, commentary on her work, and coverage of her death and funeral, appear in Benjamin Lefebvre's The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1: A Life in Print (2013).
Despite the fact that Montgomery published over twenty books, "she never felt she achieved her one 'great' book." Her readership, however, has always found her characters and stories to be among the best in fiction. Mark Twain said Montgomery’s Anne was “the dearest and most moving and delightful child since the immortal Alice". Montgomery was honoured by being the first female in Canada to be named a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in England and by being invested in the Order of the British Empire in 1935.
Her fame was not limited to Canadian audiences. Anne of Green Gables became a success worldwide. For example, every year, thousands of Japanese tourists "make a pilgrimage to a green-gabled Victorian farmhouse in the town of Cavendish on Prince Edward Island". In 2012, the original novel Anne of Green Gables was ranked number nine among all-time best children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal, a monthly with primarily U.S. audience. The British public ranked it number 41 among all novels in The Big Read, a 2003 BBC survey to determine the "nation's best-loved novel".
Montgomery's home of Leaskdale Manse in Ontario and the area surrounding Green Gables and her Cavendish home in Prince Edward Island have both been designated National Historic Sites. Montgomery herself was designated a Person of National Historic Significance by the Government of Canada in 1943.
Her life's work lives on not only in print but in movies, television shows and cartoons that have become enduring favorites even to fans who have never read a word she wrote.
Bala's Museum in Bala, Ontario, is a house museum established in 1992. Officially it is "Bala's Museum with Memories of Lucy Maud Montgomery", for Montgomery and her family stayed in the boarding house during a July 1922 holiday that inspired her novel The Blue Castle (1926). The museum hosts some events pertaining to Montgomery or her fiction, including re-enactment of the holiday visit.
Honors and awards
Lucy Maud Montgomery was honored by Britain's King George V as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). (There were no Canadian orders, decorations or medals for civilians until the 1970s.)
Montgomery was named a National Historic Person in 1943 by the Canadian federal government. Her Ontario residence was designated a National Historic Site (NHS) in 1997 (Leaskdale Manse NHS), while the place that inspired her famous novels, Green Gables, was designated "L.M. Montgomery's Cavendish NHS" in 2004.
On May 15, 1975, the Post Office Department issued a stamp to 'Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables' designed by Peter Swan and typographed by Bernard N.J. Reilander. The 8¢ stamps are perforated 13 and were printed by Ashton-Potter Limited. A pair of stamps was issued in 2008 by Canada Post, marking the centennial of the publication of Montgomery's classic first novel.
The City of Toronto named a park for her (Lucy Maud Montgomery Park), and placed a historical marker there in 1983, near the house where she lived from 1935 until her death in 1942.
On November 30, 2015 Google honored Lucy Maud Montgomery with a Google Doodle published in several countries, including USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Nigeria, Oman, Israel, Indonesia, Italy, Argentina and Sweden.
Anne of Green Gables series
- Anne of Green Gables (1908)
- Anne of Avonlea (1909)
- Anne of the Island (1915)
- Anne of Windy Poplars (1936)
- Anne's House of Dreams (1917)
- Anne of Ingleside (1939)
- Rainbow Valley (1919)
- Rilla of Ingleside (1921)
- The Blythes Are Quoted (2009) — was given to publisher the day before her death and lost. Finally found in mid–2000s.
Pat of Silver Bush
The Story Girl
- Kilmeny of the Orchard (1910)
- The Blue Castle (1926)
- Magic for Marigold (1929)
- A Tangled Web (1931)
- Jane of Lantern Hill (1937)
Short story collection
Short stories by chronological order
- The Watchman & Other Poems (1916)
- The Poetry of Lucy Maud Montgomery, selected by John Ferns and Kevin McCabe (1987)
- Courageous Women (1934) (with Marian Keith and Mabel Burns McKinley)
- The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career (1974; originally published in Everywoman's World in 1917)
- The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery (5 vols.), edited by Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston (1985–2004)
- The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years 1889-1911 (2 vols.), edited by Mary Henley Rubio and Elizabeth Hillman Waterston (2012-2014)
- "Lucy Maud Montgomery and Anne". Island Information. Government of Prince Edward Island. May 6, 2010. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
- "L.M. Montgomery Institute". University of Prince Edward Island. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
- McLeod, Carol (1983). Legendary Canadian Women. Hantsport, Nova Scotia: Lancelot Press. p. 79.
- "About L. M. Montgomery: Her Life". L. M. Montgomery Institute. University of Prince Edward Island. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- Rubio, Mary (2008), Lucy Maud Montgomery: the gift of wings, Toronto: Doubleday Canada, p. 17, ISBN 0-385-65983-0
- Bourgoin, Suzanne Michelle, ed. (1998). "Lucy Maud Montgomery". Encyclopedia of World Biography. 11 (Michael-Orleans) (2nd ed.). Detroit: Gale Research. p. 136. ISBN 978-0-7876-2221-3.
- Rawlinson, H. Graham; Granatstein, J.L. (1997). The Canadian 100, The 100 Most Influential Canadians of The 20th Century. Toronto, Ontario: Little, Brown & Company. p. 145.
- Heilbron, Alexandra (2001). Remembering Lucy Maud Montgomery. Toronto: Dundurn Press. p. 84. ISBN 1-55002-362-4.
- Heilbron 2001, p. 118.
- Heilbron 2001, p. 120.
- Heilbron 2001, p. 121.
- Rubio 2008, p. 63.
- Heilbron 2001, p. 123.
- Rubio 2008, p. 17.
- Heilbron 2001, p. 122.
- Urquhart, Jane (2009). L.M. Montgomery. Toronto: Penguin Canada. p. 24.
- Heilbron 2001, p. 127.
- Gammel, Irene (2005). "'I loved Herman Leard madly': L.M. Montgomery's Confession of Desire". In Gammel, Irene. The Intimate Life of L.M. Montgomery. University of Toronto Press. pp. 129–153. ISBN 0-8020-8924-0.
- Rubio 2008, p. 98.
- Rubio, Mary; Waterston, Elizabeth (1995), Writing a Life: L. M. Montgomery (PDF), Toronto: ECW Press, p. 40, ISBN 1-55022-220-1
- Uchiyama, Akiko (2004). Cribb, Robert, ed. What Japanese Girls Read (PDF). Asia Examined: Proceedings of the 15th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, 2004, Canberra, Australia. Canberra, Australia: Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) & Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies (RSPAS), The Australian National University. p. 4. ISBN 0-9580837-1-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 5, 2011. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
- McLeod 1983, p. 87.
- Bourgoin 1998, p. 137.
- "Is this Lucy Maud's suicide note?". Globe and Mail. September 25, 2008. Retrieved August 13, 2009.
- Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery Volume V: 1935–1942 p. 399
, and the primary cause of death on her certificate was "Coronary Thrombosis."
- Macdonald Butler, Kate (September 17, 2008). "The heartbreaking truth about Anne's creator". Globe and Mail. Retrieved August 13, 2009.
- Adams, James (September 24, 2008). "Lucy Maud suffered 'unbearable psychological pain'". Globe and Mail. Retrieved August 13, 2009.
- Rubio 2008, p. 1.
- "L.M. Montgomery Institute".[dead link]
- Lefebvre, Benjamin., ed. (2013), The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1: A Life in Print, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, ISBN 978-1-4426-4491-5
- Heilbron 2001, p. 3.
- Heilbron 2001, p. 440.
- Bird, Elizabeth (July 7, 2012). "Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results". A Fuse #8 Production. Blog. School Library Journal (blog.schoollibraryjournal.com). Retrieved 2015-10-30.
- "The Big Read – Top 100". BBC. April 2003. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
- Leaskdale Manse National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
- L.M. Montgomery's Cavendish National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
- Lucy Maud Montgomery. Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
- "History: A look back at the last 20 years". Bala's Museum with Memories of Lucy Maud Montgomery (balasmuseum.com). Retrieved 2015-10-30.
- "Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables". Canadian Postal Archives Database. May 15, 1975. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
- Anne of Green Gables, Canada Post announcement from Details Magazine, April 2008
- L.M. Montgomery plaque, Torontoplaques.com
- Other sources
- Gammel, Irene (2008), Looking for Anne of Green Gables: The Story of L.M. Montgomery and Her Literary Classic, New York: St. Martin's Press, ISBN 0-312-38237-5
- L.M. Montgomery's Rainbow Valleys: The Ontario Years, 1911-1942 edited by Rita Bode and Lesley D. Clement (2015) McGill-Queen's University Press
|Library resources about
Lucy Maud Montgomery
|By Lucy Maud Montgomery|
- The Canadian Encyclopedia, Lucy Maud Montgomery
- L. M. Montgomery at Library of Congress Authorities, with 185 catalog records
Texts, images and collections
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- Works by Lucy Maud Montgomery at Project Gutenberg
- Works by L M Montgomery at Fadedpage (Canada)
- Works by L M Montgomery at Project Gutenberg Australia
- Works by or about Lucy Maud Montgomery at Internet Archive
- Picturing A Canadian Life: L.M. Montgomery's Personal Scrapbooks and Book Covers
- L.M. Montgomery Collection at the University of Guelph Library, Archival and Special Collections, contains her personal journals, scrapbooks, and more than 800 items
- Representative Poetry Online
- Lucy Maud Montgomery Google Doodle Video
- The Lucy Maud Montgomery Society of Ontario
- The L.M. Montgomery Literary Society This site includes information about Montgomery's works and life and research from the newsletter, The Shining Scroll.
- L.M. Montgomery Institute
- L. M. Montgomery Research Centre Highlights the extensive L.M. Montgomery collection at the University of Guelph Library Archival & Special Collections.
- Leaskdale Manse National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved September 20, 2015.
- L.M. Montgomery Online Formerly the L.M. Montgomery Research Group, this site includes a blog, extensive lists of primary and secondary materials, detailed information about Montgomery's publishing history, and a filmography of screen adaptations of Montgomery texts.