Lucy Maud Montgomery author of Anne of Green Gables L.M. Montgomery Literary Society
Montgomery's Short Stories and Rea Wilmshurst
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Did you download short stories by L.M. Montgomery from the internet? Did you think they were "Public Domain" material? We are not so sure.
 
We are admirers of Montgomery scholar, the late Rea Wilmshurst, who worked hard for years to collect, transcribe and type (!), and publish a series of LMM's stories with McClelland & Stewart (1988-1995). And, before that, Catherine McLay edited a collection by McGraw Hill Ryerson, The Doctor's Sweetheart (1979). More short stories were published by McGraw Hill Ryerson in The Road to Yesterday (1974), now known as The Blythes Are Quoted (2009).
 
Rea organized the stories by themes. Today, you will find the same stories she so painstakingly edited, transcribed, and worked to publish, re-ordered by year and re-published by someone who scanned her books. Every L.M. Montgomery short story being sold on the internet today appears in these books and the copyrights are held by the editors, publishers, and Heirs of L.M. Montgomery, are they not? Are the stories public domain for anyone to copy, sell, and make a profit from the real work of the editors of the books published not so long ago?
 
 
Short Stories by L.M. Montgomery
Collected and edited by Rea Wilmshurst
(read about LMM's unpublished short stories in
The Shining Scroll HERE)

1988 Akin to Anne
1989 Along the Shore
1990 Among the Shadows
1991 After Many Days
1993
Against the Odds
1994
At the Altar
1995 Across the Miles
1995 Christmas With Anne and Other Holiday Tales
 
NOTE: (c) McClelland and Steward [not public domain]
 

 The Lucy Maud Montgomery Album is dedicated to Rea Wilmshurst.

 
NOTES FROM A CONVERSATION WITH REA WILMSHURST
November 28, 1995
Mary Beth Cavert (c) 1995


We began by mentioning the "Christmas Carol" aspects of LMM's stories. The publishers omitted one story from CHRISTMAS WITH ANNE. It was called "The Pink and Gold Heart" [read it in the Lucy Maud Montgomery Album, p. 500]. Rea was crushed when she saw it was not included because it always brought tears to her eyes. It is about a little girl who gets a pink and gold enamel heart for Christmas and she cherishes it. She overhears the adults talking about a neighbor who won't keep Christmas - she thinks that is dreadful so she gives him her pink and gold heart. He changes -- he joins the church and extends his generosity to the community.  McClelland and Stewart publishers left this story out because the character used baby talk.

MS want to do another book with Anne in the title because "Anne"  sells well. Rea was thinking about a Cooking With Anne book.

The next book depends on what they insist. They reduced price on this one for a quick Christmas seller.  She isn't sure what she will  decide if they want another "skimpy" little book. LMM stories "really  require more volume" - one cooking story alone was a seven-part  story, serialized.

Her original plan was to have the next collection focus on the village, about neighbors like the two women who live side by side, quarrel and reconcile.  MS was thinking only about two more books so she was trying for a broad theme so she could fit a lot in it. However, this Christmas book has been a "blockbuster" so MS is considering "letting me do what I want to do."

Another plan is to go farther afield - possible title AWAY FROM HOME -TALES OF BOARDING SCHOOL. Another idea is ALWAYS THE ROMANTIC TALE.  There are only 10 or 12 with a western theme. One is "How We Went to the Wedding" in AGAINST THE ODDS.  She would also like to try a children's theme - that is, Children's Stories, under age 10 -- there's not that much "baby talk" in them.

Rea was given Anne by her mother when she was 11. She started to read it but thought Mrs. Lynde was boring. A true confession! So, her  mother opened the book to the "A Tempest in the School Teapot"  chapter. Rea read the book from there to the end and then started  back at the beginning. After that, she read everything.

I phoned her in the hospital where she is recovering from surgery to  correct complications from her first round of chemotherapy last  year.  In her partner's words, she has been "swatted down" by the  return of the cancer and surgery but loves all the good wishes from kindred spirits. She wants to recover well enough to finish the publication of these stories and go to the Symposium on PEI next year [1996] (while she was in the hospital last year, she thought of eight new titles that begin with "A" ). She has had three incisions in her abdomen in the last year so while she is hospitalized she does "light" reading - books she can hold up easily and which do not weigh heavily on her stomach. She likes Patricia Wentworth, has about 50 of them. She has received fan letters from the states, Australia, Sri Lanka, Japan.  She has a bibliography of all the stories  alphabetically by title, chronologically, and by magazines.  She would welcome any positive thoughts directed her way.

IN HER OWN WORDS

I first read Anne of Green Gables when I was eleven, and I have been re-reading it and L.M. Montgomery's other novels and short stories regularly ever since. Most people read Anne, then perhaps a few other of her novels, and go on to other things (not, of course, real Montgomery fans). But no matter what else I read, I was always re-
reading some Montgomery novel or other.

As a teen-age reader in the '50s I also knew Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea, and I was delighted when The Road to Yesterday and The Doctor's Sweetheart came out in the '70s. Forty-eight Montgomery short-stories, all very satisfying. But I was always wishing there was more. When you really love an author's work, you want more and more.

So you can imagine how delighted I was in 1977, when visiting Montgomery's birthplace in Clifton Corner, P.E.I., to discover a treasure trove: twelve scrapbooks into which she had pasted 360 of her published stories. I discovered later that she had written over 500 stories … not to mention over 500 poems … and, when compiling a bibliography of these stories, I found about 50 more. So, I have a collection of 400 of her 500 stories, and since 1988, have edited seven volumes of these tales. With the publication of Christmas With Anne and Other Holiday Tales, there are 190 more Montgomery short stories in print. I hope eventually to publish them all.

This work has been a labour of love. Montgomery's stories never fail to amuse me, to enchant me, to make me weep. I have been delighted to discover that they are as pleasurable to many of today's readers as they are to me. "
More from Rea Wilmshurst
by Mary Beth Cavert (c) 1996
 
I first heard of Rea Wilmshurst when I ordered a copy of Lucy Maud
Montgomery: A Preliminary Bibliography
at the start of my LMM book collecting days in the early 1990s. Before the bibliography was printed in 1986, Wilmshurst contributed articles to Canadian Children's Literature, such as "L.M. Montgomery's Short Stories: A Preliminary Bibliography" in 1983. In 1989, CCL also printed "L.M. Montgomery's use of quotations and allusions in the Anne books".
 
A note in this article said that a reader could contact the author and buy a copy of her index of quotations from the rest of novels as well. I wrote to Rea in 1994 to request the index and she sent me "copy #6 of 10 printed in November 1990." I treasure it very much as a resource and tribute to her diligence, passion and intellect.  I bought all her short stories collections as soon as each one was published and wrote to tell her how much I loved them (at this time, I don't know of any plans to continue the series).
 
We exchanged two notes in the spring and summer of 1994. She was
terribly disappointed to have missed the announcement of the first
LMM symposium at UPEI -- she had made plans to travel to Europe and could not attend. In July 1995, she wrote a few brief words from her summer cottage about the new Anne Christmas book she had compiled and her 6 month complete and unexpected occupation with cancer.
 
In November 1995, I contacted Rea to do an interview about her new
collection of Christmas stories for our holiday meeting of The L.M.
Montgomery Literary Society here in Minneapolis. When I called, she
was in the hospital and we had a marvelous talk.
 
She was extremely pleased to have been invited by Kathy Gastle and the members of the Kindred Spirits Society of Hamilton to present at the Norval, Ontario Christmas celebration and autograph her new book (it was the first time she had been asked to do a signing, I believe she said)! Her illness prevented her from attending, but she reveled in the honor and did sign books in the hospital. When the gravity of her illness became clear, I wrote a note to the Kindred Spirits e-list:
 
"Dear Friends,

… Here is my request: "give" Rea a thought or two when you can and,
if you have enjoyed the story collections she has brought to us in
the last 7 years, e-mail a response or words of encouragement for her in care of me.  I will print it and put what I get in a basket (like "Aunt Cyrilla's Christmas Basket") and mail it to her next week."
 
We sent Rea a basket full of dozens of email notes printed on colored paper and a plastic ball filled with sand from PEI:
 
"We are doing nothing but thinking of you these days.  We were most overawed with your work: "L.M. Montgomery's use of quotations and allusions in the "Anne" books."  We adore and admire that your devotion to your search for Lucy Maud's short stories, and depth of love for English literature.  We were amazed to realize that so many of your books had titles that started with the letter "A" ;-)
*******
We both want to thank you a million times for presenting us so many of Lucy Maud's lovely works. You are our Santa Claus, giving us warm feelings all year around. We hope for your quick recovery, and hope see you next June at the LMM conference on PEI.
*******
Thanks to you and your hard work I (and thousands of others) have been  exposed to more of LMM's eloquent writing and wonderful characters. I, personally LOVE the compilations because they feed my hunger for more adventures and characters to love/hate. I send you my best wishes for peace and a very speedy recovery.
*****
Rea, thank you *so* much for all the hard work and heart you have put into compiling these wonderful new LMM books. I just
purchased CHRISTMAS WITH ANNE two weeks ago and have been reading it slowly and in great enjoyment. I love the book -- it's so small and cozy and ...*familiar*. Thank-you so much. It is hard to express in words the joy you have brought to us through all your hard work
*******
Dear Rea:
I first read Maud's books when I was a pre-teen and young teen - in the late forties and early fifties.  I remember feeling a great
sadness when they came to an end - or so I thought - and there were no more of her books to which I could look forward. It was a real delight to discover the short stories, and to realize that, thanks to you, there was still more Maud to read.
Reply from Rea Wilmshurst


December 20, 1995

Dear Beth,
 
I've asked a friend to e-mail my overwhelmed gratitude to you. We got your package yesterday (I regret to say the ball had come apart) and
I simply wept over all the messages you had so carefully printed out
for me on such excitingly coloured pages. … I do truly appreciate it
and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Can you circulate somehow to all the people who wrote my joy and uplift at receiving their messages.  And assure everyone that the project will continue. I have chosen my successor, and she will keep the series going as long as the publisher will. Your many messages will help convince the publisher (if they need convincing) to keep on.

Medically--I am at home, kept comfortable with a permanent morphine drip (portable), and feeling fine for the moment. No predictions have
been made; no one really knows how fast or slowly things will progress. Having so many unknown friends' wishes with me will surely
keep the road easy.

Rea
 
*******

Dear Beth,

I am the person Rea asked to send you an e-mail message in response to the many colourful messages of support you sent her from the many Kindred Spirits around the world. Today I am the bearer of sad news. Rea died on Friday afternoon, peacefully, with Andy, her mother and her aunt at her side. I believe that she and Andy wrote the obituary that appears in the Toronto papers today. I am sending it to you in the hope that you will send it to whomever you think would be
interested. She was a great person and we miss her a lot. The college is flying its flag at half mast in her memory.

WILMSHURST, Irene Rea -- Peacefully, relieved of pain and having
continued throughout her illness the deep contentments of her life,
in Toronto, her native city, on Friday, March 22, 1996. Born in 1941,
Rea, is the dear daughter of Mildred and the late Harry Wilmshurst;
the dear sister of J.P. and David; a dear niece, aunt, and cousin
within her large, close family; and the dear partner of Andy Silber. By her talents and devotions, she also has other "families" mutually
cherished over many years and closer than ever during the past year.
Her love of literature and her editorial acuteness made her a kindred
spirit to many people, near and far, who share her belief that
preserving literature matters. For more than twenty years she
assisted in producing scholarly editions of J.S. Mill and S.T.
Coleridge. Rea also recovered from obscurity hundreds of stories and
poems by L.M. Montgomery; eight volumes of the stories have been
published by McClelland and Stewart. Her love of ballet and admiring
affection for many dancers, with Andy's, has enlarged her family even
more. One of Rea's last gestures was to mime, with a smile on her
face, the Sugar Plum Fairy's curtain-call dedication to her, from the
whole Company, of a performance of the National Ballet of Canada's
new Nutcracker. A first memorial gathering will be private, for family
only. To a later celebration of Rea's life all her friends will be
invited. By love for the place and of people there, Rea has had
another home on the island of Grand Manan, N.B., where her ashes will rest in a favourite spot.


FROM THE TORONTO STAR
written by Nicolaas Van Rijn:

REA WILMSHURST FOUND AUTHOR'S SCRAPBOOKS

Rea Wilmshurst couldn't believe her eyes.

Stuffed into a cardboard box, surrounded by pellets of mouse poison,
were scrapbooks jammed with stories and poems written by her
childhood idol Lucy Maud Montgomery.And Ms Wilmshurst, who thought she'd read every word written by Montgomery, the creator of the immortal Anne of Green Gables and Canada's most famous author, didn't recognize a single piece.  "She was fascinated," said longtime companion B. Anderson Silber, an associate professor of English at the University of Toronto's Victoria College, who was with her when she made the discovery in 1977 while visiting Montgomery's birthplace, New London, P.E.I.Ms Wilmshurst, who delighted Montgomery fans worldwide by editing the treasure trove and publishing it in eight new collections, died of ovarian cancer Friday in the Salvation Army's Grace Hospital in Toronto after a lengthy illness.  She was 54.
Born in Toronto, Ms Wilmshurst worked for a decade as a Bell Canada
service representative before returning to school and graduating from
the U of T in 1971, with a degree in English.After teaching French in several public schools in Newmarket, she returned to Toronto and worked as a freelance academic typist.The bulk of her work was as an editorial assistant on two massive projects that produced, for the University of Toronto Press, the 33-volume Collected Works of J.S. Mill, a 19th-century political philosopher; and, for Princeton University Press, a collection of the works of poet and thinker Samuel Taylor Coleridge.After her discovery of the Montgomery scrapbooks, Ms Wilmshurst spent years tracking down the newspapers, magazines and other periodicals which had published - and then forgotten about - the short stories and poems.

And beginning in 1988 she published, under the McClelland and Stewart imprint, eight volumes of the collection.After they began appearing, Ms Wilmshurst "heard from Anne fans around the world," Silber said.  "Entire fan clubs from Japan, Sri Lanka, Denmark, New Zealand wrote to thank her for uncovering a treasure trove."
Ms Wilmshurst, who shared a passion for ballet with her companion,
also leaves brothers J.P. of Vancouver and David of Grimsby.

 
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