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cover art  Anne of Green Gables

cover art Anne of Avonlea

cover art Further Chronicles of Avonlea

cover art Anne of the Island

The Value of Book$ by L.M. Montgomery
(c) L.M. Montgomery Literary Society
 
Many visitors to this web site arrive here looking for information about a Montgomery book they wish to sell or buy. Here is some information from our own (extensive) experience buying L.M. Montgomery first, rare, and early editions.
 
We are always in touch with our great friends at the Montgomery archives and collections at the University of Guelph and University of Prince Edward Island, as well as super collectors and benefactors like Donna Campbell and Frank and Juanita Lechowick! If we can't answer your question, we can usually find someone who can!
First of all a Note For eBay sellers/buyers - it is illegal to interfere with an auction: for example, if you are selling a book and you are contacted by a buyer outside an active auction who asks you to end the auction and sell to them, or tell your buyer that the book they just bought is missing (even if they have not yet paid), then you have breached a contract.  Buyers, if a sellers cancels an auction, be assertive. It is illegal -- our advice to is go after dishonest buyers and sellers in every way possible! First, report the seller to the Better Business Bureau of their state. Then, contact a lawyer. Complain to eBay immediately, although that won't help you get your book.
 
There are very few dishonest buyers/sellers of Montgomery books, but beware. Contact us, if you have questions, we have bought from many sellers.

No matter how early an edition it is, the most important element in value is what condition the book is in. Worn or scuffed covers, damaged or missing frontispiece/illustrations, loose bindings, missing pages (a book held together with duct tape!), etc. do not equal a valuable book, even a true first edition. However ...
 
The value of any book is what the buyer is willing to pay.
Most buyers will not pay top dollar for books in poor condition.

 
Please understand that some bidders on auction sites are collectors of Montgomery while others are buying in order to sell later at a profit. Our valuation of books is based on our position as collectors. Others will buy at the prices that we will be quoting and then turn around and attempt to sell at twice to ten times (sometimes 100x!) what they paid. We recommend sellers who belong to accredited bookseller organizations.
 

 
Note: First Edition Anne of Green Gables means April 1908.
That is the date of the first impression.
A 1944 edition might be listed as a first edition
but it is a 760,000th impression.
 
Every edition of Anne of Green Gables published by L.C. Page is a (c) 1908 ["first"] edition. What collectors look for is the impression and the year of printing, but most importantly, condition.
 
PRICES OF A TRUE FIRST Anne of Green Gables: There have been several true first editions available in the past year for collectors, especially the dark brown covers (there are also beige and light green boards), so they are less "rare" than in past years! An April 1908 edition with "chocolate brown" boards in near excellent condition (bright gilt title)was sold in the autumn of 2013 for under $2000. An April 1908, brown cover, in poor condition, has been listed on eBay in late 2013 for almost five thousand dollars, not an accurate price. And, the roman numerals, MDCCCCVIII, on the title page do not mean a true first edition - they appear in the first 34 impressions.
 
Unless a first edition is in almost new or "near fine" condition, the high prices are not appropriate, in our opinion.

Any L.M. Montgomery book, no matter how old,
which does not look nearly new, should have a value of
any used books, $10 - $ 60, especially if
it is a library book, a reprint publisher, or has a worn cover,
or a faded spine, or loose pages/binding, or writing.

Note: we are not fans of poor condition books being "dressed up" with photocopied (facsimilie) dust jackets. It looks like a seller is trying to fool the buyer.
 
Dustjackets made by L.C. Page are rare, if you find one before 1915. We have many dustjackets on Anne of Green Gables books from the 1930s and 1940s. The publisher printed many of these books after Montgomery died in 1942. We have paid $20 to $100 for them. Other near fine editions from the 1940s in dustjackets have been recently sold for $20-$30 (We often see these editions on eBay. If a book seller wins an auction for a 1944 AGG dustjacket, they usually pay $20 to $200. We have seen 1940s books, 1943, 1944,etc. with dustjackets with a price of $750-$1000!).
 
Our Anne of Green Gables from the early 1930s in a dust jacket is in near fine condition and cost $42. However, one of the rarer Anne books from the 1940s is the beautiful 1944 De Luxe edition in a dust jacket which does not have the Gibbs or Claus illustrations.
 
We have at least six Anne of Avonlea (LC Page) in dustjackets from the 1930s and 1940s; prices for these ranged from $40 to $80. Our Anne of Avonlea in a dustjacket from the early 1920s is in near fine condition and cost $40.
 
Avonlea and Anne of the Island were reprinted in the 1940s with several different color boards (beige, green, blue, and red). The border lines on the dustjacket covers of these editons may be brown or blue or "gold," but not on 1st edition dustjackets (bright gold). Text on the jacket flaps will help date books. For example, the brown or rust color on the cover boards of Anne of the Island is a 1949+ edition and can be dated by the Pollyanna titles in the back of the dj.
 
Dust jackets on 1st editions of Montgomery books published before the 1920s will be priced in the $200-$300 range.

 
The Watchman and Other Poems is somewhat rare, although we are seeing more of them for sale. A Stokes edition (red or burgundy cover) of The Watchman was sold on eBay in 2012 for $880. One of our members acquired (in 2012) an identical edition in excellent condition for $800, and another sold for $300 in late 2013.
 

 
The Blue Castle, true first edition, does not have a castle on the front boards. The Blue Castle (1926) is hard to date, because the publishers rarely printed the impression, but the boards (grey), and title (blue) are considered the true first printing.
 
A first editon sold in late 2012 for $100.
 
Printer information also indicates when the book was published:
after 1926 to about 1930 - "Printed and Bound in Canada the Hunter-Rose Co. Limited Toronto;" about 1935 and earlier - "The Hunter-Rose Co. Limited Toronto;" after 1939, 1940-42 (also has "A Love Story of the Northwoods" on the spine) - "The Hunter-Rose Co Limited Printers and Bookbinders Toronto, Canada."
 
The Blue Castle dustjackets: a first jacket had a blue mottled pattern and had very fragile paper; an early one is the 1928 A.L. Burt white dj with a castle; next is a mottled gray jacket from about 1929 by McClelland and Stewart, identical to the dj on the first edition; then the yellow dj which appears in the 1930s and 1940s.
 

 
McClelland and Stewart is not the name of the publisher of the true first Canadian edition of Anne's House of Dreams -- look for those names and Goodchild.
 
Anne's House of Dreams was Montgomery's first book with a new publisher so they printed a lot of them, which is why you can find nice copies at low prices! Prices for these are often far less than $100 ($15-$30) because of availability You can find this title almost everywhere, by the original publishers and by the reprint publishers (A.L Burt). A couple of our members have a beautiful, and uncommon, edition of this title by the UK publisher, Constable.
 

 
True firsts of L.M. Montgomery book do not have black lettering on the cover titles or spine. If a seller is offering a dustjacket edition, ask what color the spine title is -- if it is black, it is not a first edition. Almost all Montgomery's books have gold or silver gilt titles, exceptions are The Blue Castle (except for AL Burt edition which is gold), McClelland edition of A Tangled Web, and Anne of Windy Poplars.
 

 
The first edition of Anne of Green Gables published in England by Sir Isaac Pitman has all of the Claus illustrations in it.
 

 SIGNED BOOKS
 
Montgomery was trying to sell as many of her books as she could in the late 1930s. She gave many speeches and book signings. You will be able to find signed copies of her novels from that time, especially Jane of Lantern Hill and Anne of Ingleside. Our signed editions from the 1930s with dustjackets were purchased in the $800-$900 range. A signed book without a dustjacket was purchased for about $500 in the on 2014. Books that are first editions, signed before 1919, and in good or higher condition, can be purchased for $1800-$2300. A signed Watchman and Other Poems was aquired for $2800 in 2014.
 
Books signed by Montgomery for her friends are truly rare. These books have been acquired for under $2400. They may be inscribed, but also signed "Faithfully," "Lovingly," or "Sincerely" Yours (plus "With Author's Compliments"), especially if she gave the friend books quite often. Note: she also signed in this fashion at a few book-signing events (like "Cordially Yours"), but usually she signed with only her name.
 
Any book (not written by her) with her signature (and a date) in it may have come from her home library. Several books were missing during her lifetime (loaned and not returned, stolen) and some were given away, sold, or missing after her death. However, some books were given to her friends. A recent personal book owned by LMM surfaced recently. It was a 1920s edition [when the printing plates were changed] of Anne of Green Gables owned by Montgomery and given as a gift to a hospital staff by her son, Dr. Stuart Macdonald. It was sold to a book dealer for $2800 in late 2013.
 
These books are being sought by our Society to return to the Montgomery museums. Please contact us if you find one!
 

 LETTERS
 
L.M. Montgomery wrote thousands of letters. She answered all her fan mail, as far as we know! Our friend, Joanne Wood, commented (in the Toronto Star) on the author's letter writing when one of LMM's letters, from late in her life, to an Australian fan appeared at the Sotheby's auction in December 2011 (it failed to sell -- This same letter was listed with Boneham's in Dec. 2012 for $6000-$8000 and did not sell.) Joanne has written about the Montgomery Australian editions in The Shining Scroll.
 
All of Montgomery's letters to her fans follow the same template, that is, she thanks the writer and lists all of her books, and encourages the writer to share the list with others. In some cases, she asks the fan to write to a movie company and request Anne movies.
 
Her personal letters are much more scarce because her friends (like Montgomery) often destroyed personal letters, although a few have been preserved by her friends on Prince Edward Island. Many of these have been donated to Montgomery archives on the Island.
 

 WHICH EDITION?
 
In the Green Gables L.C. Page editions, Elizabeth Withington replaced Claus as the illustrator after the mid 1920s, about 1925, when the old worn out printing plates were replaced with new ones. It is difficult to date some Montgomery books because the copyright page sometimes lacks impression dates. Later editions and reprints may have the original copyright date alone (no impression listed), but are not first editions. All true early editions have the impression (month, for example) listed. The exact printer information and lists of book prices in the fore pages also helps to date editions.
 
In later editions of AGG, there is a book list on one of the first pages. That will tell you how much later the book was printed. See our Montgomery Books page for dates of publication.
 

 
After the title page in the LC Page editions is a list of books with prices. If your book is missing the copyright page, use this guide to estimate publishing dates based on the AGG price listed (from a few of our Anne of Green Gables editions): 1909-1911 = $1.50, 1920 (49th imp) = $1.65, 1920 (50th imp) = $1.75, 1923 = $1.90, 1924-1940 = $2.00, 1944 = $2.25, 1947 = $2.50.
 

 
If a Montgomery book with a dustjacket has Anne of Ingleside (1939) listed on the back, it was printed after 1939. When Montgomery died in 1942, LC Page printed many more editions of her books to cash in.

Not rare: The McClelland and Stewart Cavendish edition series with the letter C on the boards and photo of Green Gables on the back of the dustjacket are from the 1940s. The Thrushwood series from Grosset and Dunlap was printed in the 1940s-50s (covers are grey tweed-like).
 

RARE
 
Not all early Montgomery books are "rare". There are many Anne of Avonlea editions available, for example. We see a great number of Chronicles of Avonlea, Magic for Marigold, and Anne's House of Dreams for sale. There are many editions of Anne of Green Gables from 1914 and 1915, especially from the reprint publisher, Grosset and Dunlap. Most of our books from these publishers were acquired for under $20.
 
A first edition of Anne of Avonlea in beige boards sold on eBay in spring 2012 for $125 and many more for less, the piano music for the 1919 Anne movie (with Mary Miles Minter) sold for $10.
 
While the first edition AGG from April 1908 is considered rare, we know of at least 9 copies among our friends and fellow collectors. It is rare, but read our Shining Scroll from Dec. 2010 (3rd part) to find out about the most rare.
 
Of the LC Page Montgomery editions of Anne of Green Gables, the 2nd impression (July 1908) is considered the MOST rare, or scarce, because not many were printed. The first impression of Anne is April 1908, the second is July 1908. There were no impressions in June 1908, although later editions omit the April impression on the copyright page and list June instead. There were not many printed in the first two impressions because LC Page did not yet know how popular the book would be.
 
April and July impressions can be priced quite high depending on their quality. We have bought high quality later impressions, 3rd for $700-$800, and 4th for $170 (August and September 1908). The later impressions in 1908, November and December have recently sold for $180.
 
Courageous Women, (c) 1934, is a somewhat rare Montgomery title. It is non-fiction, with biographies of several Canadian women. LMM was one of three authors. Editions which lack the dust jacket can be acquired around $600-$700 US depending on the condition of the book. Editions with the dust jacket (and red top edges) sell for $1200.

 
We consider most quality (in excellent + condition, almost new with bright gilt titles) Montgomery first edition titles true values to be around $100 - $250 at this time. Other titles with dust jackets vary with the quality of the dustjacket and tend to run less than the Anne titles. Our first editions of Emily Climbs and Emily Quest (publisher Stokes) with dustjackets cost $150-$200.
 
Reprint editions, AL Burt/Grosset Dunlap can be acquired in the $15 - $45 US range.
 

For a different interpretation of the "value" of L.M. Montgomery books, read this issue of The Shining Scroll.
 
We have short articles about collectible Montgomery books in most of our periodials -- The Shining Scroll. Please look through the ones online. Scroll down this page for an image of early editions of Montgomery books.
 

 

 
Read about all the Australian editions of Montgomery books here:
The Shining Scroll December 2010 Part 1:
 
The Shining Scroll Periodical contains articles on
Montgomery's early and rare books:
 
 
Learn more about Montgomery's Books on our Books page.
 
For recommendations on reputable book sellers (and avoid the rare unethical Montgomery eBay seller), contact the LM Montgomery Literary Society
~~ See images of early editions at the end of this page ~~
 
Read about Montgomery's Good Fairy Statue from her
dear friend, Frede Campbell here.
Note: eBay sellers, please credit this article when you quote it in your Good Fairy auction.

COLLECTING L.M. MONTGOMERY

[see must read resources on LMM books at end of page]

 

At almost every meeting of our Literary Society, someone brings a wonderful treasure related to L.M. Montgomery. We share beautiful books by Montgomery, poetry collections, brochures, postcards, old movie theater glass slides, magazines, movie posters, sheet music, and “discoveries.” Among our members, we must have almost a thousand early copies of Montgomery books as well as magazine stories, poetry collections and related favorite literature from her own era. Collectively, we have nearly every L.C. Page impression of Anne of Green Gables. The collectors of the L.M. Montgomery Society could probably help provide some helpful information for a Montgomery bibliography!

 

We have been particularly lucky to be the guests of Christy, who has assembled an amazing private collection of Montgomery material. Her father built several bookshelves for her Montgomery collection and she needs a few more! Christy is a retired nurse and began collecting many years ago. She is an expert historical researcher and enjoys detailed genealogy work on her own family and Canadian connections.  We are grateful for her generosity and that of all our members in sharing their enthusiasm, expertise, and delight in Montgomery’s words and “artifacts.”

 

Here are a few contributions from our members that describe the “collectibles” that keep them connected to the tangible world of L.M. Montgomery.

 


 

I was originally introduced to the Anne series by my mother who read it to me while I was "resting" during the hot, dry summer days of the 1930s. I didn't even know there were Emily and other books until I joined the LMMLS!

 

In August 2006, I was looking through an old account ledger of my mother’s and found that she had devoted a page to listing all the characters, villages and special places, like Birch Path, in Anne of Green Gables.

 

I also found a letter to her from The L.C. Page Company (January 1941)! She had requested an autographed Silver Anniversary Edition of Anne of Green Gables and the secretary provided her with Montgomery’s home address in Toronto so she could send her own request directly to the author.

 


 

When I was 11 or 12 years old my father and other men on the township board decided they would clean out their old one room schoolhouse, to use it as a place to vote.  The door had been locked one spring day in the 1920s and everything had been left in the building.  My father brought home a box of books that they found because my sisters and I were readers.  As soon as I saw Anne of Green Gables I started reading the book.  The box also contained a copy of Anne of AvonleaAnne of Green Gables is dated 38th impression, May 1914, and Anne of Avonlea is dated 26th impression, March 1917.  Both books were well-used school library books and my Avonlea book later had the spine chewed by a puppy.

 

I loved both of the books and was excited to see more of the series for sale in the Sears, Roebuck catalog.  I remember the day the mailman delivered the package and I couldn't start reading immediately because I had to go into town for piano lessons. The six books I received were Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne's House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea. The dust covers show Anne in clothing of the 1950's.  I wrote “November 1955” in the books as the date when I received them.

 

As I read the books I knew that someday I would visit Prince Edward Island.  It took almost thirty years until my first trip but I have since been there many times.  On my trips I have collected over fifty books by and about LMM.

 


 

My own interest in collecting early Montgomery editions started much later than most of the serious collectors I know. In the mid-1980s, I was visiting my parents and found an old A.L. Burt copy of Anne’s House of Dreams inscribed to my grandmother, about the time she was married in 1920. This beautiful book inspired me to begin looking for other early editions, because I love to hold the old books in my hands when I read them ~~ the look, the weight and texture of original editions enhances the reading for me!

 

I have about 550 early and first edition printings (9 L.C. Page impressions from 1908) of all Montgomery books and many beautiful later impressions and related publications. I have collected all the Harrap editions in dustwrappers. One of the unique books I have is the “Emily in a Box.” It is a like-new 1st edition FA Stokes presentation copy of Emily’s Quest in a beautiful green paper box with the paste down cover. I love the excellent edition of a 2nd impression Anne of Green Gables which was owned by a hotel in Maine, probably the most scarce of the LC Page editions. However, my most scarce edition is the 1909, 14th impression, Anne of Green Gables in its original dustjacket -- like new. This beautiful book is one of only three known editions in a dustjacket from the first 18 months of publishing. Sotheby's insured this book for $25,000 --  an accurate value given the extreme rarity of early impression dustjackets. Ron Cohen's 11th impression donation to the Canadian Archives has an identical dustjacket to the one I bought.

 

Another unique item is an original photograph taken by Montgomery of her son Stuart when they were on Prince Edward Island. Six of my Montgomery books are signed by her, including a rare 1st Canadian edition of The Watchman. One of my most treasured holdings is a book from Montgomery's own library, a mystery novel, which she signed. It was a gift from a dear friend, Montgomery scholar, Elizabeth Waterston, author and a co-editor of the Montgomery journals. It is difficult to find signed copies of Montgomery's early books so I do love a 1917 Anne's House of Dreams that was signed by the author, perhaps to someone she knew. My Montgomery work centers around LMM's relationship with her closest circle of friends, so another treasured book, inscribed by her, is one she gave to a good friend, someone to whom she dedicated one of her books.

 

As a child, and up to adolescence, I attended a summer camp and an icon of our summer night vesper services was a bronze statue of the Good Fairy, a popular 1916 scuplture that was produced by Jessie McCutcheon Raleigh (it was made to "smile back into the sad hearts of the old world" ---  Helen Keller was one of its fans). I was surprised and delighted to see a photo of the same Good Fairy statue in Montgomery’s home in Leaskdale, a keepsake remembrance from her dearest friend, Frede Campbell [see Kindred Spirits Chronicle, November 2009]. I began to collect these uplifting statues from the era of the First World War and I enjoy writing at my desk surrounded by Good Fairy lamps, bookends and statues. At the Leaskdale Montgomery centennial in 2011, I explained the significance of the statue to Montgomery in a keynote presentation and donated one to the Leaskdale Manse, Montgomery's home from 1911 - 1926. Please visit this wonderful place in Ontario! [info on our Links page]!

 


 

Like many of our members, I have been collecting LMM-related materials for years.  I enjoy finding first editions (especially with dust-jackets) of any of her books as well as periodicals that have her short stories and poems. I have found quite a few previously undocumented and unread stories and enjoy making note of those others have found.  Perhaps a bibliography will come of this someday! Some of my favorites "finds" include a Page Anne of Green Gables with photographs from the 1919 Mary Miles Minter silent Anne film; early Australian editions of all the books; and Harrap "orange cover" editions, along with a few rarities such as The Watchman, Courageous Women, Verse and Reverse, Up Came the Moon (with intro by LMM), the Page brochure Something About L.M. Montgomery, etc.

 

I was very fortunate to buy LMM's own copy of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, signed by her. I found a watercolour of Lover's Lane that she had inscribed and given to one of the Webb girls in Cavendish. 

 

Living on PEI in the summer gives me some great opportunities to find a few "gems" from time to time. When the Webb home in Cavendish had an auction sale a few years ago, I not only got the watercolour, but a painted pine table that they told me had once been in the kitchen at Green Gables, along with a pair of chairs that belonged to legendary Island minister Geddie -- LMM had a pair of these, also, and left them to her son Chester in her will.  You can imagine how much I treasure these items that I now have in my cottage on "The Hill of the Mist."

 

I also started collecting the "Good Fairy" statues that LMM had as a souvenir from Frede Campbell (see The Shining Scroll issue for 2003 or Kindred Spirits magazine, winter 2002). And, of course, "Gog and Magog" are among my favourites. About ten years ago, I worked with Robert Montgomery of the LMM Heritage Museum to have the miniature versions of the original china dogs there made up for the gift shop. Visitors to the Museum love to take home their own Gog and Magog to put with their Anne collections!

 

One thing I would really love to find is a copy of the little booklet of self-published poems LMM gave for Christmas gifts in Cavendish one year for friends.  Miracles do happen!

 

I also love to collect primitives and unusual items for the cottage that make me feel closer to the Island and its remarkable history.

 


My interest with the world of Montgomery was sparked by the Kevin Sullivan films.  Soon after, I acquired my first copy of Anne of Green Gables, a present from my Mom.  I had always been fond of antiques and history, so after being captivated by the charm of Maud's books, I set out to find an early edition of any LMM book for myself.  My first acquisition was on the way home from a friend's wedding.  I stopped in an antique store and there before me was an early edition of Anne of Avonlea.  From there on I was hooked.  As I continued to read anything I could find on the life of LMM, I discovered that there was a lot of information and memorabilia still waiting to be uncovered.  The search for books led to an interest in all things to do with Anne, LMM and her writings, and PEI itself.

 

Most of my treasures come from eBay or antique stores.  I have also had many friends help me add to my collection.  There is a great thrill in finding another piece of Montgomery material and sharing the treasure and information with other devotees.  I have learned so much from generous Kindred Spirits willing to share their knowledge and collections.

 

My collection has expanded from the first edition copies of books to collecting books from different eras.  Some of the covers are beautifully done, and it is fun to see how the heroines are depicted over time.  Some of my favorite things to collect are the magazines that contain many of Montgomery's poems and short stories.  One can page through these wonderful records of yesterday and imagine the ladies of that time enjoying the latest fiction.  I like to imagine Maud herself looking at the way they illustrated her stories and poems.

 

Another favorite passion of my collecting has become the items related to the various movies made depicting Maud's books.  I think this has drawn my interest because if it weren't for a movie version I may never have discovered Montgomery.  In the case of the 1919 silent film, bits of memorabilia are the only link we have.  The things I have acquired from that film I consider to be some of the most rare items in my collection. 

 

When it comes to collecting Montgomery, I enjoy finding her in unexpected places, where you can see her influence in the world at that time, like in the People's Home Journal premium list.  This is one of the favorite things in my collection.  I consider most paper items to be in the somewhat rare category.  For instance, the Anne's House of Dreams postcard and the Stokes book list were usually discarded after being used, so having them survive all these years is remarkable. 

 

Thankfully there have been generations of collectors who thought something was interesting or too pretty to throw away.  We may now add these items to our collections and preserve them for future generations of LMM researchers and devotees.

 


 

For me, collecting Lucy Maud Montgomery began as a necessity and progressed into a passion.  When I was nine years old, my Grandma Cora came to visit and she wanted me to read Anne of Green Gables, insisting that I check it out from my school library.  She had been a teacher for many years, had often read LMM’s books out loud to her students, and felt that is was time for me to read them too.  Grandma Cora had always been a very avid reader, so she had loaned out all of her LMM books -- most had not been returned.

I brought Anne of Green Gables home from the library, but had no interest in reading it. Grandma Cora had other ideas.  She sat me down and read the first few chapters out loud. I, of course, wanted to know if Anne was to stay at Green Gables, but she said I would have to finish the book myself.  And so began a love of all things L.M. Montgomery which has lasted for more than forty years.

At that time, my school library had only a copy of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea. The rest of LMM’s books were out of print and not available to purchase.  My family always went on a summer vacation and we usually went to Canada, so my mother and I began to search old bookstores for any copy of LMM that we could find.  As each summer went by, we would pick up a few more titles. I remember paying 25 cents all the way to two dollars for some of the titles!

 

We were unable to find any copy of Rilla of Ingleside but Grandma Cora came to the rescue.  She was in California visiting my aunt and found a copy of the book at their local library.  She checked it out, mailed it to us and we read it quickly, so Grandma could return it before the due date.

Our family vacation was to Prince Edward Island in 1970, 1971 and 1972,  -- a dream come true for me, to see the Land of Anne for myself.  We found some paperback copies from the Canadian Favorite editions at a drug store in downtown Charlottetown and my mother corresponded with the owner for several years.  He would mail us copies of titles that we did not have when they were reprinted in Canada

Collecting out of necessity led to collecting to improve my collection. After my two daughters were born (Emily and Anne -- one guess who they are named after), I decided that they should each have a set of old copies of LMM.  There is something so wonderful in reading an old hardcover that has a beautiful picture cover versus reading a new paperback.  So, I searched old bookstores, book fairs and wrote to booksellers all over the U.S. and Canada.  This was before the internet and you really had to search to find the books you wanted.

The internet has changed antiquarian book buying dramatically and eBay has opened up the whole world to collectors.  Now you can find books, magazines and other related LMM collectibles without ever leaving home, and buy from places that you would never have been able to visit before.

 

In the beginning of my search, the condition of the book, the publisher or the lack of a dust jacket did not matter -- any copy of a title that I did not have was a treasure.  Over the years I have learned the importance of a real 1st edition, dust jackets and pristine condition.  One very special bookseller, who I corresponded with for years, impressed upon me the importance of “condition.” He always said it was better to spend a little extra to get a fine copy, than to buy several fair-condition books.

To date, I have 460 old copies of LMM titles.  I have close to 50 copies of Anne of Green Gables alone!  I have been fortunate to find five copies published in 1908, two 3rd printings, a 6th, a 7th printing, and my most prized, a 1st edition from April, 1908.  As my collection of books grew, I decided to branch out into old magazines and other items.  I have 107 old magazines that have LMM stories in them.

 

As my collecting lead me to look for anything LMM related, I have come across some very interesting items.  I was fortunate to get a book that had been in Maud’s own collection -- it is a book about the Brontės and has Maud’s signature in the front with a drawing of a cat.  She mentions reading this book in her journal, and it just gives me goose bumps to a hold a book that she once held, read and enjoyed.

True collectors are always searching and learning.  Maud wrote the poem “The Wreck of the Marco Polo,” so collecting books and items related to this ship became a necessity. 

 

Some scholars feel that Maud’s Barney Snaith character in The Blue Castle is based on Maud’s enjoyment of Charles G. D. Roberts writings, so I have collected many of his wonderful books. It has also been suggested that Maud may have chosen the name Valancy for her heroine in The Blue Castle after reading some of the Canadian poet/author Isabella Valancy Crawford.  This prompted me to learn more about this very interesting lady and get some of her books and poems.

In Jane of Lantern Hill, Bernard Freeman Trotter is mentioned, a soldier poet in World War I who was killed in the war. I found a wonderful copy of his book of poems that his family had published after his death.

 

The various movies that have been made based on Montgomery’s works also have opened up areas of collecting.  Mary Miles Minter starred in the silent version of Anne of Green Gables, and, although the film has been lost, some movie stills (pictures) can still be found, along with sheet music that was used to accompany the silent film.  Interest in Mary Miles Minter leads one to find books about her life, early Hollywood, and an  unsolved murder that ended her career.  In 1936 another version of Anne of Green Gables was filmed with the movie star Dawn O’Day playing Anne.  She loved the character so much that she changed her name to Anne Shirley and credits the film with advancing her career.  I have collected movie stills, lobby cards, lobby posters and magazine articles about the actress and the film, along with the same items from Anne of Windy Poplars that the actress Anne Shirley starred in a few years after making Anne of Green Gables.

 

I have been back to Prince Edward Island five more times since my family trips in the 1970's.  I wanted my daughters to get to experience the beauty of PEI first hand, and they have fallen in love with it, too.  On one trip, I was buying old post cards of PEI (and the other Maritime Provinces) and didn’t realize until I got home that one of them had been written by Maud herself. I recognized Maud’s writing when I read the back of the card.  She had sent the card to Edith Russell -- they had worked together at The Echo newspaper in Halifax. Maud mentions Edith in her journals, and Edith even visited Maud once.  What a find!  And to think that I didn’t even know I had such a treasure until months after returning home.

As I was indexing my collection so I could contribute to our Literary Society Newsletter, I realized how many Montgomery items I have.  I had never before inventoried my collection and it was fun to go through it all, looking at some of the wonderful items that I have collected.  When I totaled all the LMM books and related items up, I found that I have over 1,000 items. And to think that it all started with a few 25-cent tattered copies of the Anne books.

The love of Lucy Maud Montgomery leads one down many, many paths.  It introduces you to other authors and poets, to history long-forgotten, and to other collectors of LMM, who I have found to be true Kindred Spirits.  What better legacy can one leave to their children than that?

 

see more articles on the Shining Scroll Online page.

Many of Montgomery's first edition books and stories are listed in:

Lucy Maud Montgomery: a preliminary bibliography. ed. Ruth Weber Russell, D.W. Russell, Rea Wilmshurst. University of Waterloo Library ISBN 0920834426

Lechowick, Frank, and Juanita Lechowick. A Collector's Guide to L.M. Montgomery Firsts. [Charlottetown, P.E.I.]: F. and J. Lechowick, 2009.

These are "must-have" books for collectors and sellers of early editions! books.

LM Montgomery books 1st edition (c) MCavert

 
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