Ann of Green Gables : Biography

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Lucy Maud Montgomery was born to Hugh John Montgomery (1841-1900)and Clara WoolnerMacneill(1853-1876)on November 30, 1874, at Clifton (now known as New London), Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), Canada. Before she reached two years of age, her mother died of tuberculosis, and her father sent her to be brought up in Cavendish, P.E.I. by her maternal grandparents, Alexander and Lucy WoolnerMacneill. Montgomery’s father moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada, where he remarried.

Montgomery’s grandparents ran the post office in Cavendish, and they resided on a farm, where she grew up traipsing through fields and woods and along the sea shore. A bit of a tomboy, Montgomery also loved to play make-believe (and to christen ordinary places with fanciful names), read, and write.  She attended a one-room school in Cavendish, and her grandparents, who were devout Presbyterians, sent her to Sunday School. When she was nine, she began a journal, and she wrote poems, hymns, and little stories about friends and relatives. She loved visiting her paternal grandparents, Donald Montgomery (1807-1893) and his wife Louisa (1821-1893), in Park Corner, as well as visiting Silver Bush, the farm of her Uncle John and Aunt Annie Campbell.

When she was fifteen, Montgomery went to live with her father and his wife for a year, during which she attended high school and published a poem, “On Cape LeForce” in the P.E.I. newspaper The Patriot. In 1893, Montgomery got her teacher’s license from Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, P.E.I. , and afterward she began teaching in a one-room school in Bideford. From 1895 to 1896, she attended Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she concentrated on English literature courses. She then taught in Belmont and then in Lower Bedeque, but she left this position when her grandfather died and she returned home to care for her grandmother for the next thirteen years. During this time, she found moderate success writing and publishing children’s stories and serialized fiction for magazines, and in 1905 she wrote Anne of Green Gables, her first novel. No publisher wanted it, however, and Montgomery stuck the manuscript in a drawer. In 1907, she again submitted it for publication, and the Page Company of Boston, Massachusetts accepted it and published it in 1908. The novel made her instantly famous.

After her grandmother’s death in March 1911, Montgomery married Reverend Ewan Macdonald in July 1911. The couple moved to Leaskdale, north of Uxbridge, Ontario, where Ewan was parish minister of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church. The couple raised three sons, and Montgomery continued a prolific writing career, publishing seven more Anne novels, twelve other novels, 530 short stories, 500 poems, and thirty essays. Montgomery became the first Canadian woman to join (in 1923) the Royal Society of Arts in Britain, and in 1935 she became a member of the Literary and Artistic Institute of France and was awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

Montgomery died in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on April 24, 1942, and she is buried in the Cavendish cemetery on P.E.I.

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