Women and Adversity:
Lucy Maud Montgomery, Author
“Anne of Green Gables” and more
Reading “Anne of Green Gables,” published in 1908, brings smiles, nods and eye rolls at the likeable orphaned Anne Shirley’s antics, quirks and predicaments. The book catapulted its author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, to fame and to be one of Canada’s best loved writers.
Lucy Maud Montgomery, known to family and friends as Maud——“without the e”——and professionally as L.M. Montgomery, was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1874. Her mother died before Maud turned two, and her father gave her to her mother’s parents to raise. It was a strict, lonely upbringing and Maud created imaginary characters to amuse herself.
Her first publication was the poem “On Cape LeForce” in 1890 in the Charlottetown newspaper, “The Daily Patriot.” In 1894 she completed studies at Prince of Wales College and received her teacher’s certificate. She taught for a time, and in 1901-02 she was a substitute proofreader for newspapers in Halifax, Nova Scotia but moved back to Prince Edward Island to care for her widowed grandmother.
She wrote “Anne” while there, but it was rejected when she submitted it to publishers. She resubmitted it two years later and L.C. Page & Company in Boston accepted it. It was published in 2008 and became a best seller. She agreed to write sequels, although they were never as popular as the first book. She also wrote a series of “Emily of New Moon” books. She had 20 novels, more than 500 short stories, her autobiography and a book of poetry published in her lifetime.
Maud was a flirt as a young woman and had several beaus but refused marriage proposals. The one she accepted, she broke off and ended up in 1911 marrying Ewen (Maud spelled it Ewan) Macdonald, a Presbyterian minister. Maud describes her decision as a terrible mistake.
The couple moved to Ontario and had three sons, the second of whom was stillborn. Ewen suffered from depression for years, and Maud suffered from depression as well and died in 1942. Her granddaughter revealed in 2008 that Maud had taken her own life by a drug overdose. Maud biographer, Mary Henley Rubio, disputes the claim, saying the paper found at her bedside was an entry for her book.
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