Chronology: 1874–1942

1874. Lucy Maud Montgomery is born on 30 November in Clifton (now New London), Prince Edward Island, the only child of Hugh John Montgomery (1841–1900) and Clara (née Macneill) Montgomery (1853–1876).

1876. Clara Montgomery dies of tuberculosis on 14 September, leaving her twenty-one-month-old daughter to be raised by her parents, Alexander Macneill and Lucy (née Woolner) Macneill, in the nearby village of Cavendish.

1889. Before her fifteenth birthday, Montgomery destroys her childhood diaries (an act she will later regret) and begins a new journal that she will keep for the rest of her life.

1890. In August, at the age of fifteen, Montgomery travels by rail with her paternal grandfather, Donald Montgomery, to Prince Albert, NWT (now Saskatchewan), to be reunited with her father, who has remarried, and to attend high school there. In November, days before her sixteenth birthday, she publishes her first poem, “On Cape Le Force,” in the Charlottetown Daily Patriot.

1891. Unable to bear the friction between her and her stepmother, Montgomery returns to Prince Edward Island in August. She publishes several non-fiction pieces throughout the year: “The Wreck of the ‘Marco-Polo'” in The Montreal Daily Witness, “A Western Eden” in The Prince Albert Times and Saskatchewan Review and the Manitoba Daily Free Press, “From Prince Albert to P.E. Island” in The Daily Patriot (Charlottetown), all of which appear in Becoming L.M. Montgomery.

1892. After a year out of school, Montgomery resumes her studies in Cavendish in August, with the intention of studying for the entrance exams to train as a teacher at Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown.

1893. In July, Montgomery writes her entrance examination to PWC, achieving the fifth highest ranking out of 264 candidates. She begins her studies in September, intending to complete a two-year teaching course in one year. She would write about this year in her 1927 article “The Day Before Yesterday” in The College Times.

1894. Montgomery publishes a playlet (“The Usual Way”), a sketch (“Extracts from the Diary of a Second-Class Mouse”), an essay (“High School Life in Saskatchewan”) and a poem (“The Last Prayer”) in the College Record, a short-lived periodical of Prince of Wales College. She completes her studies in June with the sixth highest ranking in her year, and her commencement speech on Shakespeare’s Portia is printed in four Charlottetown daily newspapers. She begins teaching in the rural settlement of Bideford, PE, in late July, the same month she publishes the poem “The Violet’s Spell” in the New York magazine The Ladies’ World.

1895. Montgomery leaves Bideford and returns home to Cavendish at the end of June. In September, with savings from her teaching work and help from her grandmother, Montgomery begins a year at Dalhousie University in Halifax, taking a series of undergraduate courses in English literature. To The Ladies’ Journal of Toronto Montgomery contributes two poems as well as her first published short story, “A Baking of Gingersnaps.”

1896. In February, Montgomery enters a writing contest sponsored by the Evening Mail of Halifax on the question “Which Has the Most Patience under the Ordinary Cares and Trials of Life – Man or Woman?” and wins both first prize for a poem signed “Belinda Bluegrass” and honourable mention for a sketch signed “Enid.” In April, coinciding with the appearance of her essay “A Girl’s Place at Dalhousie College” in the Halifax Herald, she leaves Halifax to return to Cavendish, regretful that she lacks the financial resources to carry on with her studies. Although she begins the year publishing several more pieces in The Prince of Wales College Observer, by the end of the year she has started publishing in several prestigious American periodicals: Golden Days for Boys and Girls of Philadelphia, The Youth’s Companion of Boston, American Agriculturist of Springfield, Massachusetts, and The Sunday Inter Ocean of Chicago. In October, she begins teaching in Belmont, PE, but finds the conditions poor and the workload unmanageable.

1897. Montgomery leaves Belmont in July and returns to Cavendish; in October, she starts what will be her last teaching term, in Bedeque. Publishes eleven poems (two in like The Ladies’ World and one in Munsey’s Magazine, both of New York)

1898. Alexander Macneill, Montgomery’s maternal grandfather, dies suddenly in March; his will leaves his house and property to his son John Franklin Macneill but allows his wife to remain in the home for the rest of her life. Montgomery gives up teaching and returns home to Cavendish to stay with her grandmother. Publishes the first of three dozen poems in The New York Family Story Paper.

1900. Hugh John Montgomery, Montgomery’s father (whom she has not seen for eight years), dies in Saskatchewan, leaving her bereft.

1901. In October, Montgomery moves to Halifax to work on the editorial staff of The Halifax Daily Echo and The Morning Chronicle, where she writes a weekly column entitled “Around the Table.”

1902. Montgomery leaves Halifax for Cavendish at the end of May out of a sense of duty toward her grandmother.

1903–1907. Montgomery continues to write while living in Cavendish but is silent in her surviving life writing about two major projects: a chapbook of poems that she printed privately probably in late 1903 and the manuscript for a first novel that she wrote probably starting in spring 1905.

1908. Montgomery’s first novel, Anne of Green Gables, is published to great acclaim by Boston publisher L.C. Page and Company in June.

1909. Anne of Avonlea, the first sequel to Anne of Green Gables, is published in September. In November, Montgomery is profiled by A. Wylie Mahon in The Canadian Bookman.

1910. Kilmeny of the Orchard, an expansion of the 1908 serial “Una of the Garden,” is published in March. In November, she travels to Boston to meet her publisher; coverage of her visit appears in a number of Boston periodicals, including The Boston Herald, The Boston Post, The Boston Traveler, and The Republic.

1911. The Story Girl is published in spring. Montgomery publishes four nature essays, beginning with “Spring in the Woods,” in The Canadian Magazine. Following the death of her grandmother in March, Montgomery leaves Cavendish for the home of relatives in Park Corner. Her marriage there to Ewan Macdonald on 5 July receives coverage in a number of periodicals, including The Guardian, Manitoba Free Press, The Boston Herald, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Patriot. After a honeymoon in England and Scotland, she moves to Leaskdale, Ontario, to begin a new life as the wife of a Presbyterian minister.

1912. Chronicles of Avonlea is published in June, just before the birth of her first son, Chester Cameron Macdonald. A (likely fake) interview with Montgomery about her writing methods appears the same month in The Writer: A Monthly Magazine to Interest and Help All Literary Workers (Boston, MA) and The Western Mail (Perth, Australia).

1913. The Golden Road is published in August.

1914. Montgomery is profiled by Marjory MacMurchy in Manitoba Free Press and by Mary Josephine Trotter in Everywoman’s World. Montgomery’s second son, Hugh Macdonald, is stillborn in August, a week after the start of the First World War.

1915. Anne of the Island is published in July.

1916. Montgomery leaves the Page Company and makes arrangements to publish her subsequent books with McClelland, Goodchild and Stewart (later McClelland and Stewart) in Canada and the Frederick A. Stokes Company in the USA. McClelland, Goodchild and Stewart publishes The Watchman and Other Poems in November (Stokes will reprint this in 1917).

1917. In the midst of the publication of Anne’s House of Dreams in August, Montgomery publishes a six-part, 25,000-word serial memoir, “The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career,” in the Toronto periodical Everywoman’s World.

1919. In winter, Montgomery begins transcribing the journal she has kept since adolescence in ten legal-sized ledgers that will provide the basis for five volumes of The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, two volumes of The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, and several volumes of L.M. Montgomery’s Complete Journals: The Ontario YearsRainbow Valley, a novel featuring Anne’s children and their friends, is published in Canada and the USA in August.

1921. Rilla of Ingleside, a novel about Anne’s grown children during the Great War, is published in September in the USA and in October in Canada.

1942. L.M. Montgomery dies at her home in Toronto on 24 April, after submitting to her publishers her final book, The Blythes Are Quoted, which would be published in its entirety only in 2009. Her death is interpreted by family members as a suicide.