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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 and disappointed by her haphazard schooling, Montgomery returns to Prince Edward Island in August. She publishes three 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 Free Press, and “From Prince Albert to P.E. Island” in the Charlottetown Daily Patriot.

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, Prince Edward Island, 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” (under the pen name “Maud Cavendish”).

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 (a follow-up to The College Record), by the end of the year she has started publishing short stories and poems 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, Prince Edward Island, 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 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” (under the pen name “Cynthia”) and provides editorial, production, and administrative support to both newspapers.

1902   Montgomery leaves Halifax for Cavendish at the end of May out of a sense of duty toward her grandmother. Some time this year, Montgomery begins a correspondence with Ephraim Weber, which will last till the end of her life; an equally long-lasting correspondence begins the following year with G.B. MacMillan of Alloa, Scotland.

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. In late 1906, she accepts a marriage proposal from Ewen Macdonald (1870–1943), a Presbyterian minister who had once been pastor to her congregation, under the condition that they wait to marry until her grandmother is no longer living.

1908   Montgomery’s first novel, Anne of Green Gables, is published to great acclaim by Boston publisher L.C. Page and Company in June. Although she has been a professional writer for almost two decades, the publication of the novel increases exponentially media attention, which she does not particularly enjoy.

1909   Anne of Avonlea, the first sequel to Anne of Green Gables, is published in September.

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 and Ewan move to Leaskdale, Ontario, where she begins 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 (1912–1963).

1913. The Golden Road, a sequel to The Story Girl, is published in August.

1914   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. Montgomery’s second surviving son, Ewan Stuart Macdonald (1915–1982), is born in October.

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 several published volumes of her journals. Rainbow Valley, a novel featuring Anne’s children and their friends, is published in August. A silent movie adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, with Mary Miles Minter as Anne, premieres in November.

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.

1923   Emily of New Moon, the first book about budding writer Emily Byrd Starr, is published in September. It will be followed by two sequels, Emily Climbs in September 1925 and Emily’s Quest in August 1927.

1926   Montgomery, her husband, and their sons leave Leaskdale and settle in Norval, northwest of Toronto. The Blue Castle, a novel set in Ontario focusing on a twenty-nine-year-old woman who decides to change her life after receiving an unexpected medical diagnosis, is published in August; this book remains today a favourite among Montgomery’s readers.

1929   Magic for Marigold is published in September.

1931   A Tangled Web is published in October, appearing under the title Aunt Becky Began It in the UK.

1933   Pat of Silver Bush, about young girl growing up in post-war rural Prince Edward Island, is published in August; it will be followed by Mistress Pat: A Novel of Silver Bush in September 1935.

1934   Courageous Women, a book of biographical essays written collaboratively with Marian Keith and Mabel Burns McKinley, is published by McClelland and Stewart in the fall. A second, “talkie” film adaptation of Anne of Green Gables premieres in December.

1935   Montgomery is appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Ewan Macdonald is forced into retirement due to ill health. The Macdonalds settle in Toronto in a home that Montgomery refers to as “Journey’s End.”

1936   Anne of Windy Poplars, an unexpected sequel filling the gap between Anne of the Island and Anne’s House of Dreams, is published in August; it appears in the UK and Australia with some textual differences as Anne of Windy Willows.

1937   Jane of Lantern Hill, about a Toronto girl who sets out to reunite her estranged parents, is published in August.

1939   Anne of Ingleside, her last book published during her lifetime, filling in the gap between Anne’s House of Dreams and Rainbow Valley, is published in July.

1940   A film adaptation of Anne of Windy Poplars is released in August.

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 will be published in its entirety only in 2009. Her death is interpreted by family members as a suicide. Tributes to her appear in numerous periodicals, including the Charlottetown Guardian, the Ottawa Journal, the Peterborough (ON) Examiner, Saturday Night, The Maritime Advocate and Busy East, and The Presbyterian Record. Coinciding with her death is the publication of the first Canadian editions of Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island by the Ryerson Press (Toronto).