The Life and Work of L.M. Montgomery
“I cannot remember the time when I was not writing, or when I did not mean to be an author.”
- L.M. Montgomery, The Alpine Path, 1917
Books Published in Her Lifetime
1908 Anne of Green Gables
1909 Anne of Avonlea
1910 Kilmeny of the Orchard
1911 The Story Girl
1912 Chronicles of Avonlea
1913 The Golden Road
1915 Anne of the Island
1916 The Watchman and Other Poems
1917 Anne’s House of Dreams
1919 Rainbow Valley
1920 Further Chronicles of Avonlea
1921 Rilla of Ingleside
1923 Emily of New Moon
1925 Emily Climbs
1926 The Blue Castle
1927 Emily’s Quest
1929 Magic for Marigold
1931 A Tangled Web
1933 Pat of Silver Bush
1934 Courageous Women
1935 Mistress Pat
1936 Anne of Windy Poplars
1937 Jane of Lantern Hill
1939 Anne of Ingleside
Life and Times
Lucy Maud Montgomery (called Maud) is born on November 30 on Prince Edward Island. Maud’s mother Clara dies of tuberculosis just 21 months later, so the family decides that Maud will be raised by her Macneill grandparents in Cavendish, P.E.I.
Montgomery burns her childhood diaries and begins what she calls "a new kind of diary" that would later become, according to Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston, "the most vivid and detailed memoir in Canadian letters." She keeps, edits, and re-copies this journal throughout her life.
Maud travels to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and spends a year living with her father and stepmother. Montgomery’s first publication, the poem “On Cape Le Force,” appears in the Charlottetown Daily Patriot, and, soon after, she publishes three essays in other newspapers: “The Wreck of the Marco Polo,” “A Western Eden,” and “From Prince Albert to P.E. Island.”
The ship Marco Polo, once the fastest in the world, wrecked off the North Shore of P.E.I. in 1883. The captain of the ship boarded with the Macneills in Cavendish, and eight-year-old Montgomery enjoyed hearing many of his seafaring tales. When he left Cavendish, he presented this platter to Maud's grandmother Lucy.
Montgomery graduates from Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown with a First Class Teachers License and takes a teaching post in rural Bideford, P.E.I.
Montgomery took selected undergraduate courses, mostly in English literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She also publishes the story "A Baking of Gingersnaps" in The Ladies’ Journal (Toronto). Her studies last only one year due to lack of funds, so in 1896, Montgomery takes up a second teaching post in Belmont, P.E.I.
A clipping from Montgomery's scrapbook (p. 61 of her "Blue Scrapbook") featuring the Forrest Building at Dalhousie. The caption reads, "Dalhousie College, Halifax, the doors of which are wide open to
women" (see Imagining Anne, p. 75).
Grandfather Alexander Macneill dies in Cavendish, so Montgomery gives up her final teaching position in Lower Bedeque, P.E.I. and returns home to care for her grandmother.
Montgomery takes a short-term job on the staff of the Halifax Daily Echo, writing a column called “Around the Table” under the pen name “Cynthia,” before returning home once again to stay with Grandmother Macneill.
She begins a lifelong correspondence with Canadian writer and teacher, Ephraim Weber and, one year later, with Scottish journalist and author, George Boyd MacMillan.
Montgomery becomes secretly engaged to Reverend Ewan Macdonald, Presbyterian minister .
Montgomery signs a contract for the publication of Anne of Green Gables with L.C. Page and Co. in Boston. This contract will change Montgomery’s life.
Anne of Green Gables is published in April (though officially in June), going through six printings by December. Montgomery writes the lyrics for the "Island Hymn," a project conceived by a professor at the Charlottetown School of Music. The song was made the official provincial anthem of P.E.I. in 2012. Since 1890, she has written and published another 200 short stories and over 100 poems.
Anne of Green Gables is published in Sweden and titled, Anne på Grönkulla ("Anne on Green Hill”), the first of some 40 translations of Anne.
After the death of her Grandmother Macneill, Montgomery marries Reverend Ewan Macdonald on July 5, at Park Corner. After a honeymoon trip to England and Scotland, the Macdonalds settle together in Leaskdale, Ontario. By now, she has published four novels, approximately 400 poems, over 400 short stories, and 52 other sketches and essays.
Son Chester Cameron Macdonald is born.
Montgomery’s second son, baby Hugh, is stillborn. The First World War begins. Its daily stress profoundly affects Montgomery, and she later dedicates Rainbow Valley (1919) to three local soldiers who died overseas and writes Rilla of Ingleside (1921), a novel of the Canadian homefront.
Son Ewan Stuart Macdonald is born.
Stuart, at 10 months old, in the garden at Leaskdale.
The first (silent) film version of Anne of Green Gables is released. Ewan suffers his first bout of depression and illness in their marriage that would recur throughout his life. Montgomery’s dearest cousin and friend Frederica Campbell dies, and Montgomery begins recopying her journals into uniform volumes.
Montgomery begins and endures a prolonged series of lawsuits and appeals with her first publisher, L.C. Page, after he publishes Further Chronicles of Avonlea without her permission. Page appeals all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court (his appeal was denied), but the cases don’t fully resolve, in Montgomery’s favour, until 1928.
The Macdonalds visit the Muskoka lakes region of Ontario, a visit that would inspire Montgomery’s only novel set entirely outside of P.E.I., The Blue Castle.
The Macdonalds move to Norval, Ontario, to a beautiful brick manse (Montgomery's first home with electricity) tucked into the woods near the Credit River.
The second film adaptation of Anne of Green Gables is released, starring a young Dawn O’Day, who would later change her name to Anne Shirley. Montgomery co-writes, with Marion Keith and Mabel Burns McKinley, Courageous Women, a collection of “inspiring biographies of girls who grew to be women of courage and achievement.”
The Macdonalds retire to the Swansea area of Toronto, near where their sons were engaged in law and medical school. Montgomery named their Tudor-style house on Riverside Drive, "Journey's End." Montgomery is named an officer of the Order of the British Empire.
The Dominion Parks Branch tour the Island and eventually decide that the Cavendish shore and some farmlands, including, in particular, the house known as Green Gables, will become part of a National Park.
Montgomery’s beloved cat, Lucky, dies, and she writes a lengthy journal entry about him and dedicates Jane of Lantern Hill (1937) to him. Montgomery was passionately fond of cats all her life.
Montgomery contributes the Prince Edward Island portion of the souvenir book, The Spirit of Canada: Dominion and Provinces, a Souvenir of Welcome to H.M. King George VI and H.M. Queen Elizabeth, prepared in advance of the Royal tour of Canada.
L.M. Montgomery dies in Toronto on April 24, after submitting a final "Anne"-related collection of sketches and poems, The Blythes Are Quoted, to her publisher. She lies in state at Green Gables before burial in the Cavendish cemetery.