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An abandoned little girl raised by elderly guardians during the Victorian era on Prince Edward Island, Canada. It sounds like the premise for a book, and it was, but it was also the early life of author Lucy Maud Montgomery.

Lucy Maud (without and E) Montgomery was born on November 30, 1874 to Hugh John and Clara Macneill Mongomery. Her early life wasn’t the stuff of dreamy imagination, but it sure set the stage for one to develop. As usual we cover a lot more detail in the podcast, the whos, whys and the whats of her story.

When Maud was an infant her mother died, her father moved to find work, and she was left to be raised by her maternal grandparents as part of a large extended family. When Maud was about nine she read the Bad Boy books, stories of a little boy written as journals (read the one Beckett talked about one here). She liked the idea so much she began her own journals and copied the style of of storytelling right down to the language (which wasn’t like her own.) She eventually destroyed those, but journaling became part of her life from then on, and her scrapbooks? Life souvenir goals, right?

At 16 her bright mind took her to college to earn her teaching certificate, but what she really wanted to do was write.Teaching college led to teaching as a day job while following her dream to be able to support herself as as freelance writer on the side (hmmm, that sounds familiar.) When her grandfather died, Maud moved in to care for her grandmother. It was during this 13-year period that Maud achieved her dream with a novel of a little, red-headed orphan girl adopted by an older brother and sister (who had sent for a boy, not a girl). Anne of Green Gables was an instant hit for a long working writer.

The image that may have sparked Maud to create Anne Shirley. The Eternal Question-Charles Dana Gibson (wikicommons)
The image that may have sparked Maud to create Anne Shirley. The Eternal Question-Charles Dana Gibson (wikicommons)

Marriage to a minister took Maud away from her beloved Prince Edward Island, but even raising a family, being a ministers wife, her war efforts during WWI, caring for her husband during episodes of his mental illness, her own battle with depression and two boys who created a bit of college age drama didn’t slow down her writing. The eight book Anne series was her biggest hit and was translated around the world, and Anne began to make silver screen appearances. (Oooh-the story behind that first one is a doozie! We tell it during the show.)

Want to see the 1934 version (Maud liked this one better than the first)?

When Maud died on April 24, 1942 at the age of 67, she left behind a legacy in her 10 volume journal collection, 20 novels, 530 short stories, 500 poems and a little girl with red hair who won the hearts of not only her adoptive family but the entire world.


Beginning next week we will be starting a series recap based on Anne with an E which drops on NETFLIX  May 12, 2017. We’ll cover that story and post once a week, one History Chicks recap show per Anne episode. We are so excited about it! We’ll cover the story as it unfolds, compare and contrast it to the book and (sorry) the 1985 (still a classic, always beloved) miniseries starring Megan Follows as well as other incarnations of Anne. We’ll dot in historical information from Anne’s time, point out real-life appearances from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s life and (probably) drink a lot of raspberry cordial but (probably not) wear puffy sleeves.
Our series will appear in your podcast feed entitled “Anne with an E Recap” (clever, right?) starting May 12 and will run for 7 or 8 episodes.


BOOKS (and Other Reading)!


You want to read some of her work so here is a complete list of all of it compiled by the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island.

Maud’s own words about her path to becoming a writer, The Alpine Path, the Story of My Career; if you feel like reading some of her poetry you can find a huge chunk of it on PoemHunter (which is a pretty cool site to know if you like poetry), and here is a piece she wrote at Dalhousie College: A Girl’s Place at Dalhousie College, 1896.

blackford holly
mccabe kevin
shirley foster jody simons
What Katy Read by Shirley Foaster and Judy Simons
wallner alexandra
Kids’ non-fiction!
Mary Henley Rubio has written several L.M. Mongomery Biographies
Mary Henley Rubio has written several L.M. Mongomery biographies
Maud's journals!
Maud’s journals!
Irene Gammel
Irene Gammel


Now would be a perfect time to visit Prince Edward Island! We would go if we could, but if you do here is a list of places to visit and information for your perfect Maud and Anne pilgrimage! (Please take photos, post them on Instagram with #historychicksfieldtrip so the rest of us can live vicariously!)

Travel PEI seems to be the motherlode of information!

Lucy Maud Montgomery Birthplace

Anne of Green Gables Museum

Lucy Maud Montgomery Cavendish Home

Green Gables Heritage Place, National Park

Don’t forget to book tickets to see Anne and Gilbert: The Musical. Here is the original cast album for yours (and our) entertainment:

In Japan? Anne is big there…stop by Canadian World to walk through Avonlea…in Japan…complete with a replica Green Gables and Victorian row houses. It had been a commercial park but the town of Hokkaido took it over and now it’s a public park that celebrates “Red Haired Anne”.


1985 (through the early 2000s) classic version is deeply lodged in the heart and memory of millions of Anne fans–as it should be. If you aren’t one of them, you should find a copy and watch it. It’s delightful. For the rest of you, here is Megan Follows audition tape because…oh my gosh! It’s Megan Follows flipping AUDITION TAPE!

Here’s a MentalFloss article about that version, 25 Spirited Facts!


Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Long Road to Fame is a short documentary that you might enjoy.

Lucy Montgomery Institute is a goldmine of Lucy intel!

Margaret Atwood essay on Anne of Green Gables

Article about Gibson Girls and Bowery Boys #188 The Murder of Stanford White for more information about Evelyn Nesbit whose image gave Lucy inspiration for Anne.