L. M. Montgomery 


We would like to take this opportunity to welcome you to our L. M. Montgomery page. Our school, L. M. Montgomery Elementary, is located in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island and is named after this wonderful author. On this page, we will share with you some general information about Lucy Maud Montgomery and we will discuss the impact she has had on our school and our Island. 


 / Biography / Writing Life  / Anne of Green Gables / Married Life






Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on November 30, 1874 to Clara Woolner Macneill and Hugh John Montgomery in Clifton, Prince Edward Island. 

Maud had prominent relatives on both sides of her family. The Macneills' and the Montgomerys' had both arrived from Scotland 100 years earlier. William Macneill, Maud's great-grandfather, was a member of the Prince Edward Island legislature from 1814 to 1834. Donald Montgomery, Maud's grandfather, was a member of the Prince Edward Island parliament for 34 years, and served for 20 years in the Canadian senate.

Maud's mother died before Maud was two years old. She was sent to live with her mother's parents, Alexander and Lucy Macneill, whose farm was in the small settlement of Cavendish on the northern coast of the Island. Many of her relatives lived nearby, but she did not have any companions of her own age to play with until she went to school. However, Maud had many imaginary playmates to keep her company. As well, the Macneill household was full of books, and Maud could not remember a time when she could not read. Although Maud spent a great deal of time alone as a child, she did not have an unhappy childhood.  



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Writing Life



Meanwhile, Maud's father was living in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, had married again and was working as a government official and a real estate agent. In 1890 Maud moved "out west" to live with him for the first time in many years. Prince Albert was a booming town, growing more every day. Maud enjoyed spending time with her father and seeing this part of the country. She also saw the first publication of her writing while living in Prince Albert, a poem, published, ironically, on the first page of the Charlottetown Patriot. In June of the next year, she had an article published in the Prince Albert Times.

Although Maud had many successes in Prince Albert, in 1891 she became homesick for her beloved Prince Edward Island. Her western experience had given Maud a great deal to be thankful for and to remember for years to come. Back in Cavendish, Maud returned to school to become a teacher. However, she never gave up hope of becoming a writer.

Over the next few years of her life, Maud continued to teach and to write. Her stories, articles and poems were often published, and she made some extra money from her writing. In 1898 her grandfather Macneill passed away and she left her teaching job to return to Cavendish to care for her grandmother. Maud stayed with and cared for her grandmother for the next thirteen years, until her grandmother's death in 1911. She did leave for one year, from 1901 to 1902, to work at the Halifax Daily Echo as a writer and proofreader. She continued to make quite a good living from her writing, becoming one of Canada's most successful freelance writers.

Although she loved her job at the newspaper, Maud was forced to return home to care for her grandmother. Maud was not unhappy during this time, because she loved Cavendish. However, the beauty that surrounded her at her home was not enough. Maud was getting older and longed for a husband and family of her own. In her early twenties, when she was teaching in rural Prince Edward Island, she had fallen in love with a young farmer whom she felt she could not marry because he was socially inferior. Shortly after, she met a Presbyterian minister by the name of Ewan Macdonald, a man she did not love but did respect on a social and intellectual level. They became secretly engaged, as they could not marry while Maud's grandmother still needed her. Maud became very lonely during these years, and started to question the religious beliefs that her grandparents had bestowed upon her. Her grandparents were strict Presbyterians who had not shown Maud a great deal of warmth during her childhood, something that she later began to resent. For the most part, the years from 1902 to 1911 were hard on Maud, despite the success she was starting to have as a writer. However, one piece of work that she wrote during this time would bring her much success and brightened this time in Maud's life. 



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Anne of Green Gables


Anne of Green Gables started as a short serial for a girl's magazine. However, Maud fell in love with the character and thought that the story could be extended to book length. She sent the manuscript to five publishers, all of whom had no interest in it. She became very discouraged and put it away, only to come across it some months later. She made some changes to it and sent it away again. It was accepted and the publisher suggested she start on a sequel immediately. It was published in June of 1908.

Maud had no idea that the book would become as successful as it did. She thought the book would appeal to young girls, and was excited and surprised when she began to receive letters from people of all ages, including many other successful writers. Altogether, Maud wrote eight books about Anne, the last one written in 1939.



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Married Life


Maud's grandmother passed away in 1911, so Maud and Ewan were finally able to get married, and did so later on in that year. They took a three month honeymoon abroad before moving to the small community of Leaskdale, Ontario, where Reverend Macdonald was to become the new pastor. Maud liked Leaskdale and found it charming, but admitted she did not "love" it. It was not Prince Edward Island or her beloved Cavendish.

Maud took her role as a minister's wife very seriously. She was very busy trying to provide the leadership in the community that she felt she should as the pastor's wife. Her responsibilities soon increased with the birth of her two sons, Chester in 1912 and Stuart in 1915 (there was a stillborn child in 1914). In spite of her busy life, she managed to set aside time in her day to write. In 1912 and 1913 she published books of short stories and a book of poetry. She also continued to read when she could find the time, and loved to discuss the books she was reading with her friends and pen pals.

Although the Macdonalds seemed to be happy and were fitting in very well in Leaskdale, there was a secret that plagued the household. Ewan became ill with depression, which became a great burden for Maud. She kept up a cheerful front, but found it hard to cope with how miserable her husband was feeling. She, too, was feeling weary from her church duties and somewhat bored with her life. As long as she lived, she needed the Island to renew her spirit and make her feel like herself.

The last years of the 1930's were not good for Maud. In the winter of 1937/38, following an attack of influenza, Maud suffered a nervous breakdown. She felt much better by the spring of 1939, but continued to feel burdened by her responsibilities. On April 24, 1942 Maud passed away. She was buried in the little Cavendish cemetery in Prince Edward Island, where she would be joined by Ewan two years later.

In 1936, the Canadian government proposed that a national park be developed in Cavendish to celebrate the author and all of the places precious to her, including Lover's Lane, the Lake of Shining Waters, the Dryad's Bubble, as well as a house furnished to represent Green Gables. This action prevented the land from being broken up and sold to separate individuals, and preserved the area exactly as it was. Maud visited the site in 1939 and was quite pleased with the project. Today a musical, Anne of Green Gables, draws thousands of tourists to the Charlottetown Confederation Centre of the Arts. As well, the National Park in Cavendish remains a popular destination for tourists and Islanders alike. L. M. Montgomery is loved across the world, with tourists from as far away as Japan coming to Prince Edward Island to see Green Gables house in Cavendish and the musical in Charlottetown. L. M. Montgomery lives on in the place she loved the most - Prince Edward Island.



Information for this biography was taken from: Gillen, Mollie. The Canadians: Lucy Maud Montgomery. Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Don Mills, 1978., Bruce, Harry. Maud: The Life of L. M. Montgomery. Bantam, New York, 1992.


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