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  On this page:
  • Links to short biographies of L.M. Montgomery by scholars, Dr. Elizabeth Epperly and Dr. Mary Rubio.
  • Link to Montgomery's "autobiography," The Alpine Path.
  • A tribute to Montgomery biographer, Dr. Mollie Gillen. 
  • A history of biographical books published about Montgomery with a bibliography of resources on her life.

Lucy Maud Montgomery: by Dr. Elizabeth R. Epperly

Read an excerpt from Dr. Rubio's biography of Montgomery, The Gift of Wings:

Perspectives on Montgomery's Death

The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career, by L.M. Montgomery

 A Selected Overview of Montgomery Biography
Mary Beth Cavert (c) 2008
LMMLS reading recommendations: Overview - The Lucy Maud Montgomery Album; Bios - The Gift of Wings, The Wheel of Things; About Her books - Magic Island, The Fragrance of Sweetgrass; Other - The Selected Journals of LM Montgomery, Montgomery's letters (see bibliography below).
The "evolution" of the L.M. Montgomery biography begins with her own autobiography, or more correctly called, "The Story of My Career," printed in Everywoman's World (June - November), in 1917. Later published as The Alpine Path, it concludes when Montgomery returns to Canada from her honeymoon (1911).
Hilda Ridley drew extensively from the six installments of "The Story of My Career" for the basis of her biography published in 1956, The Story of L.M. Montgomery. She read the magazine series in the scrapbooks of Ella (Mrs. George) Campbell  and her son, James, of Park Corner, PEI. She collected pieces of information about LMM from the Campbells, Montgomery's son, Chester, her friend Fannie Wise Mutch, a nurse, neighbors and friends in Ontario.
In 1960, letters of Montgomery were published, providing the first look into the author's life up to 1909, through her correspondence with Ephraim Weber.
Dr. Elizabeth Waterston chose to write a chapter about Montgomery's life and career for The Clear Spirit: Twenty Canadian Women and Their Times in 1966. This book was published for the Centennial of the Canadian Federation and the chapter authors were instructed to use original research to write about a person who had a "significance in the development of Canadian society." Waterston read the Weber letters and his essays about Montgomery for the Dalhousie Review, as well as Ridley's book. She also interviewed Montgomery's son, Dr. Stuart Macdonald, who told her about his mother's journals which he intended to edit when he retired.
The centennial of Montgomery's birth was in 1974, and Doris Anderson, editor of Chatelaine Magazine, asked associate editor, Mollie Gillen, to write an article about Montgomery in 1973. Gillen used the Weber letters and interviews with Montgomery's cousins to write Maud Montgomery: The Girl Who Wrote Green Gables.
The centennial brought a new source to light in Dr. Francis Bolger's, The Years Before “Anne," published in 1974. Dr. Bolger is an honored Island historian and teacher -- he had acquired early Montgomery letters written when she was 15 years old and living in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. He wrote a short biography using these early letters to Penzie MacNeill, Murray Macneill, and Ephraim Weber, and her personal scrapbooks, as well as other archival records for resources. He also cited Gillen's article and Waterston's chapter.
Mollie Gillen had acquired so much extra material  for her Chatelaine article that she expanded her research into a book, eventually tracking down the letters Montgomery wrote to George Boyd MacMillan in Scotland before they were destroyed by MacMillan's nephew. The Wheel of Things: A Biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery was published by Fitzhenry and Whiteside in 1975 and was the first book length biography to use all the original unpublished Montgomery letters, as well as interviews with relatives, to pull back the curtain a little farther on the private life of the author. Fitzhenry and Whiteside also published The Alpine Path in book form for the first time in 1975.
Gillen had other writing commitments and could not return to Montgomery work after 1975. Dr. Bolger and Dr. Elizabeth Epperly edited the MacMillan letters -- My Dear Mr. M.: Letters to G.B. MacMillan from L.M. Montgomery, Author of Anne of Green Gables was published in 1980.
When scholar Mary Rubio was mulling over dissertation topics, she was influenced by Gillen's biography and Waterston's mention of Montgomery's journals to consider Montgomery. However,  Dr. Stuart Macdonald was not ready to allow access to the journals. Nonetheless, Rubio and Dr. Macdonald became friends and eventually, near the end of his life, the papers were sold to the University of Guelph archives for Rubio to edit and develop. The five volumes of The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery were published from 1985 to 2004. Rubio and Waterston used these as the basis for a short biography of Montgomery in 1995 called Writing a Life.
The release of Montgomery's diaries provided ample material for several small "biographies" summarized primarily from the journals. More Montgomery material was made public in 2006 when the rest of the Weber letters were published, After Green Gables: L.M. Montgomery’s Letters to Ephraim Weber, 1916-1941.
New biographical material has been made available through other venues as well. In 2000, the L.M. Montgomery Institute released a beautiful multi-media collection of Montgomery information on its CD-ROM, The Bend in the Road. The founder of the Institute, Dr. Elizabeth Epperly, curated an online exhibition of Montgomery's life in 2002: Picturing a Canadian Life: L.M. Montgomery's Personal Scrapbooks and Book Covers. In 2008, The L.M. Montgomery Research Centre began to make more Montgomery material from the University of Guelph archives collection available online [see].
In the fall of 2008, during the Anne of Green Gables centennial year, Dr. Mary Rubio's extensive biography, The Gift of Wings, was published. Rubio spent 25 years interviewing people and ingesting every piece of available Montgomery information and scholarship -- readers can see the scope of it in her acknowledgments and select bibliography.
In November of 2008, Mollie Gillen celebrated her 100th birthday (she received cards from Queen Elizabeth and the mayor of Toronto) with relatives, her publisher, and friends sending best wishes from the Montgomery fans around the world

The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career. Everywoman’s World, 1917. Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1975.

Ridley, Hilda M. The Story of L.M. Montgomery. Toronto: Ryerson, 1956. London: George G. Harrap, 1956.

The Green Gables Letters from L.M. Montgomery to Ephraim Weber, 1905-1909. Edited by Wilfrid Eggleston. Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1960.

Waterston, Elizabeth. “Lucy Maud Montgomery 1874-1942.” In The Clear Spirit: Twenty Canadian Women and Their Times, edited by Mary Quayle Innis, 198-219. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966.

Gillen, Mollie. “Maud Montgomery: The Girl Who Wrote Green Gables.” Chatelaine, July 1973, 40-42,52-56.

Bolger, Francis W.P. The Years Before “Anne." 1974. Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 1991.

Gillen, Mollie. The Wheel of Things: A Biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery. Don Mills, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1975.

Gillen, Mollie. Lucy Maud Montgomery. Don Mills, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1978.

My Dear Mr. M.: Letters to G.B. MacMillan from L.M. Montgomery, Author of Anne of Green Gables. Edited by Francis W.P. Bolger and Elizabeth R. Epperly. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1980.

The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery, Volume I - V. Edited by Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1985 - 2004.

Rubio, Mary, and Elizabeth Waterston. Writing a Life. Canadian Biography Series. Toronto: ECW Press, 1995.

McCabe, Kevin, comp. The Lucy Maud Montgomery Album. Edited by Alexandra Heilbron. Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1999.

"The Rescue of the Montgomery-MacMillan Letters" (The Lucy Maud Montgomery Album, compiled by Kevin McCabe, edited by Alexandra Heilbron, Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 1999)

After Green Gables: L.M. Montgomery’s Letters to Ephraim Weber, 1916-1941. Edited by Hildi Froese Tiessen and Paul Gerard Tiessen. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006.

Rubio, Mary Henley. Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings. Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 2008.

Bend in the Road

Picturing a Canadian Life
Mollie Gillen, LM Montgomery Biographer (c)MCavert
Mollie Gillen, LM Montgomery Biographer

Dr. Mollie Gillen

L.M. Montgomery Biographer

November 1, 1908 – January 3, 2009
We celebrate the life of Mollie Gillen who was a pioneer in L.M. Montgomery research. She was admired by legions of Montgomery fans for her early work in discovering and preserving Montgomery's lost letters to pen pal George MacMillan of Scotland and using them to craft an insightful biography in 1975. Mollie was one of the Montgomery "pioneers" recognized at the 2008 Montgomery conference on Prince Edward Island [read Honoring the Preservationists by clicking on the image above].
Mollie's first article about L.M. Montgomery appeared in
Chatelaine Magazine in July 1973,
Mollie was honored by Jack and Linda Hutton at their Montgomery Bala Museum where she and Mary Rubio met each other for the first time in 1997. She was befriended by kindred spirits Kevin McCabe, Yuka Kajihara, and Jason Nolan who made sure that Mollie knew how much Montgomery fans appreciated her.
Read about Mollie Gillen at these pages which were provided by Yuka and Jason:
The Lucy Maud Montgomery Album is dedicated to Mollie's son, Ian Richard Gillen.
The first time that Mollie Gillen was recognized publicly for her Montgomery work was when Jack and Linda Hutton made her the guest of honor at their Bala celebration. Kevin McCabe and Mary Rubio paid tribute to Mollie. Read about this touching event in the 1997 Shining Scroll (p. 4):

The Shining Scroll 1997 with memories of Mollie Gillen

[links no longer active] 
Hear about Mollie Gillen on the Island Morning show on CBC: 
Featured Audio: January 07, 2009: Letters and a Biography: Mollie Gillen
about the work of biographer Mollie Gillen.
Click to listen to RealAudio file.(runs 5:44)

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