|Lucy Maud Montgomery|
L. M. Montgomery ca. 1897
November 30, 1874|
Clifton, Prince Edward Island
|Died||April 24, 1942
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Education||Prince of Wales College, Dalhousie University|
|Genres||Canadian literature, children’s novels|
|Spouse(s)||Ewen (“Ewan”) Macdonald|
|Children||Chester, Hugh and Stuart|
Lucy Maud Montgomery OBE (November 30, 1874 – April 24, 1942), called “Maud” by family and friends and publicly known as L. M. Montgomery, was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables, published in 1908. 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 on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and places in the Canadian province became literary landmarks. She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935.
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 Works
- 4 Notes
- 5 References
- 6 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 Lucy 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 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, as what developed her creative mind.
Montgomery completed her early education in Cavendish with the exception of one year (1890–1891) during which she was at Prince Albert with her father and her step-mother, Mary Ann McRae. In November 1890, while at Prince Albert, Montgomery had her first work published in the Charlottetown paper The Daily Patriot; a poem entitled “On Cape LeForce”. 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 for a teacher’s license. Completing the two-year program in one year, she obtained her teaching certificate. 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 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. A prolific talent, Montgomery had over 100 stories published from 1897 to 1907 inclusive.
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 who 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.” He 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; however, again, Montgomery felt less than her suitor did for her. When Pritchard sought to take their friendship further, Montgomery resisted. Montgomery refused marriage proposals from both because the former was narrow-minded and latter was merely a good chum. She ended the period of flirtation when she moved to Prince Edward Island. However, she and Pritchard did keep up correspondence 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 1911 she married Ewen Macdonald, to whom she had been secretly engaged since 1906, see below.
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. She returned to live with her grandmother in 1902. 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 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. In 1911, shortly after her grandmother’s death, 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 of whom 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 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 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 WWII in one passage) may have made the volume unpublishable 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….” A national park was established near Mongomery’s home in Cavendish in honour of her works.
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 of Canada. 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.
On 15 May 1975 Canada Post issued ‘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.
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)
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 collections
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)
- “Lucy Maud Montgomery and Anne”. Government of Prince Edward Island. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
- “L.M. Montgomery Institute”. University of Prince Edward Island. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
- McLeod, Carol. Legendary Canadian Women. Hantsport: Lancelot Press Limited, 1983. 79.
- “L. M. Montgomery Institute: About L. M. Montgomery”. Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- Rubio 2008, p. 17.
- Bourgoin, Suzanne Michelle ed. “Lucy Maud Montgomery.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2nd. 11. Detroit: Gale Research, 1998. p.136.
- Rawlinson, H Graham, and J.L. Granatstein. The Canadian 100, The 100 Most Influential Canadians of The 20th Century. Toronto: Little, Brown & Company (Canada) Limited, 1997. p. 145.
- Heilbron 1999, p. 84.
- Heilbron 1999, p. 118.
- Heilbron 1999, p. 120.
- Heilbron 1999, p. 121.
- Rubio 2008, p. 63.
- Heilbron 1999, p. 123.
- Heilbron 1999, p. 122.
- Jane Urquhart, L.M. Montgomery. Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2009. 24
- Heilbron 1999, p. 127.
- Rubio 2008, p. 91.
- Gammel, Irene. The Intimate Life of L.M. Montgomery. University of Toronto Press, 2005. 129–153.
- Rubio 2008, p. 98.
- Rubio & Waterston 1995, p. 40.
- Uchiyama, Akiko (2004). “What Japanese Girls Read”. In Cribb, Robert (ed). Asia Examined: Proceedings of the 15th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, 2004, Canberra, Australia. Canberra: 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. Retrieved January 8, 2012.
- McLeod, Carol. Legendary Canadian Women. Hantsport: Lancelot Press Limited, 1983. p. 87.
- Bourgoin, Suzanne Michelle ed. “Lucy Maud Montgomery.” Encyclopedia of World Biography. 2nd. 11. Detroit: Gale Research, 1998. 137.
- “Is this Lucy Maud’s suicide note?”. Globe and Mail. 2008-09-24. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- 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 (2008-09-27). “The heartbreaking truth about Anne’s creator”. Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- Adams, James (2008-09-24). “Lucy Maud suffered ‘unbearable psychological pain‘“. Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- Adams, James (2008-09-24). “Lucy Maud suffered ‘unbearable psychological pain‘“. Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2009-08-13.
- Rubio 2008, p. 1.
- L.M. Montgomery Institute
- Lefebvre, Benjamin. “The L.M. Montgomery Reader, Volume 1: A Life in Print.” Room of Ben’s Own: Homepage for Benjamin Lefebvre. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 December 2013.
- Heilbron 1999, p. 3.
- Heilbron 1999, p. 440.
- Leaskdale Manse National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places.
- L.M. Montgomery’s Cavendish National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places.
- Lucy Maud Montgomery, Directory of Designations of National Historic Significance of Canada
- Canada Post stamp
- 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
- Heilbron, Alexandra (2001), Remembering Lucy Maud Montgomery, Toronto: Dundurn Press, ISBN 1-55002-362-4
- 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
- Rubio, Mary (2008), Lucy Maud Montgomery: the gift of wings, Toronto: Doubleday Canada, ISBN 0-385-65983-0
- Rubio, Mary; Waterston, Elizabeth (1995), Writing a Life: L. M. Montgomery, Toronto: ECW Press, ISBN 1-55022-220-1
|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 Project Gutenberg Australia
- 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
- E-books and Audiobook by Lucy Maud Montgomery incl. HTML, TXT, MOBI, EPUB, MP3
- 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
- The L.M. Montgomery Research Group is a site that includes a blog, an extensive bibliography of reference materials, and a complete filmography of all adaptations of Montgomery texts.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Lucy Maud Montgomery, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.