Members of the L.M. Montgomery Literary Society (Minnesota)
who presented at this conference:
Emily and Christy WosterA
Book by It's Cover: Collecting the Artistic Interpretations of L. M. Montgomery's Works Using the work of
collectors themselves as well as ideas of interpretation and adaptation, we will introduce others to the nature of collecting
and the well-populated world of artists who translated Montgomery's view of nature into works worth collecting. We will
document some of the many book covers, book jackets and illustrations that bring Montgomery's work to life, as well as their
relationship to Montgomery's descriptive writing and connection to nature.
Alison Klawiter"My Garden
of Remembrance": Aspects of Horticulture in Montgomery's Journals and Novels
Mary Beth CavertThe Chords of Our Natures are Perfectly
Attuned: L.M. Montgomery's Natural Friendships.
of the World. International conference, Uppsala University, Sweden, August 20-23, 2009.
Read about L.M. Montgomery Celebrated in Sweden
from the Summerside Journal Pioneer Newspaper on Prince Edward Island
The 2009 international L.M. Montgomery conference began with a reception in the Linnéanum, at the edge
of the botaniska trädgården (botanical garden) in Uppsala, Sweden. The building was erected in honour of Uppsala’s hometown
celebrity, 18th century botanist Carl Linnaeus. The Baroque garden seen here originally belonged to Uppsala castle, but was
donated to Uppsala Universitet (university) by King Gustav III.Jocelyne Lloyd/Journal Pioneer
Montgomery celebrated in Sweden
JOCELYNE LLOYD The Journal Pioneer
UPPSALA, Sweden – Where would you expect to find the world’s most respected scholars of Lucy Maud
Montgomery congregating, meeting fans and sharing their lives’ work? Probably not Sweden. But that is where the “giants”
of the Montgomery scholarship world (as they were referred to repeatedly) met recently to celebrate the 100th anniversary
of the first translation of “Anne of Green Gables” into Swedish. “Montgomery is not only important in
Canada or Prince Edward Island,” explained conference co-organizer Dr. Gabriella Åhmansson, “but all over the
world.” Indeed, the conference was called “L.M. Montgomery — Writer of the World” and attracted
delegates from as far away as Japan (of course), Finland, Russia and China. Organizers expected about 200 Montgomery enthusiasts
for the four-day conference in Uppsala, Sweden, and 120 of them were present for the English wrap-up presentations Sunday. “You
should all be in church,” Dr. Elizabeth Waterston admonished the international crowd before she launched into a 30-minute
snapshot of Montgomery’s life and writing. Waterston later joined a panel discussion with her University of Guelph
colleague Dr. Mary Rubio, probably best known for their collaboration in editing and getting published Montgomery’s
journals. The pair were flanked by the founder of the Lucy Maud Montgomery Institute at UPEI, Dr. Betsy Epperly, and Åhmansson,
who wrote the first doctoral thesis ever on Montgomery’s work, “A Life and its Mirrors: a Feminist Reading of
L.M. Montgomery’s fiction”. Åhmansson related that a male colleague had told her when she was beginning this
thesis, “If I used the word feminist in my title, it would ruin my career. And he was right. But I would not go back
to 1981 and change anything.” The other women on the panel experienced similar reactions to their choice of subject.
Epperly had also wanted to write a thesis on Montgomery. “That wasn’t allowed,” she said. “You
couldn’t do that. So I did my paper on a dead Victorian man.” She still enjoys Anthony Trollope, but has focused
her career since on her first love. “After all,” she told the crowd, “I had changed my citizenship from
American to Canadian because I loved Montgomery so much.” Montgomery’s granddaughter and president of the Heirs
of L.M. Montgomery, Kate Macdonald Butler, confessed to being amazed at her grandmother’s universal appeal. “In
2008 I had the opportunity to travel a fair bit. I was so struck,” she said. “Well, in Japan, the readers, they
cry when they meet me. They just love the stories so much and they’re moved when they meet me.” There were
plenty of fans in Uppsala lining up to meet Macdonald Butler — even asking her to sign their copies of “Anne of
Green Gables”. “We’re all pleased to be here,” Waterston reiterated. “We’re all grateful
to L.M. Montgomery.”
L.M. Montgomery’s world famous novel Anne of Green Gables
has continued to attract readers from all over the world for a century. Our centenary conference is a tribute to all of those
who have made 100 years of readership possible. The main theme of the
conference is “Reading Response.” We will explore reading experiences of Anne of Green Gables and other
works by L.M. Montgomery. One section will be dedicated to Anne of Green Gables in Sweden.
Conference Co-ordinator Gabriella Åhmansson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kate, Deke and Ruth Macdonald with Betsy
Epperly and Beth Cavert
One of the wonderful events held during the centennial year of Anne of Green Gables was the bi-annual conference
sponsored by the L. M. Montgomery Institute of the University of Prince Edward Island. This year it was held at the Delta
Hotel in Charlottetown and many of our Literary Society members were able to make the trip to this important and impressive
conference co-chaired by Elizabeth Epperly, Mary Rubio, and Elizabeth Waterston.
greetings from Princess Takamado of Japan and Jennifer Litster (and daughter
Tabitha) in Scotland, the conference began with a touching presentation
honoring the first generation of L. M. Montgomery Preservationists. Mary Beth Cavert, assisted by our founder, Carolyn Strom Collins, initiated, researched and organized the tribute. Family
members of the honorees were invited to attend this special event.
presentation was an important reminder of the invaluable work that these people have done to preserve
L. M. Montgomery’s legacy, long before many scholars felt that anything of Montgomery’s was worth saving or studying.
Fans from all around the world are able to walk in many of places that Maud once loved and Montgomery scholars have access
to Montgomery artifacts and papers because of the foresight of these amazing people.
video (created by Beth) with images from the first editions of the Anne books was dedicated to these honorees and was so
moving that many in the audience were brought to tears.
of our literary society members participated in presentations and panels.Carolyn
Strom Collins presented her paper titled, “Re-creating the Lost 1919 Anne of
Green Gables Movie. She included many pictures from the 1919 film and informed us of the sometimes-bizarre story lines
she discovered in descriptions of the film written at the time of its production. Emily Woster presented her paper titled,
“The Creation of a Classic: L. M. Montgomery, Fiction Writing and Artistic Interpretation”.She discussed Montgomery’s responses in the rare book, Fiction
Writers on Fiction Writing by Arthur S. Hoffman.
Mary Beth and Carolyn were invited to be on two of the Keynote Panels – Beth’s
paper was “I Dwell Among My People: L.M. Montgomery’s Kindred Spirits” and Carolyn’s was called “Spirit, Fire, and Dew -- Elements of a Classic”.
Christy Woster, with the help of her daughters Emily and Anne, put up a display
about our Literary Society, which included information on the many 100th Anniversary events that our group participated
in this past year. We also had information on our newsletter, The Shining Scroll; many new kindred spirits signed up
to receive it via email. Other members of our Society attending the conference were Pat and Sarah Riedel and Ann Johnson.
was filled with fifty-five speakers, book launches, receptions, silent movie night, tours and a banquet where John and Jennie
Macneill were honored by the LMM Institute for their service and given a commemorative photo taken by their son, David, of
the old homestead apple tree. The conference brought together people from all over the world who love L. M. Montgomery and reminded us that her writing continues
to transcend generations, languages and cultures. We are already looking forward to the upcoming 2009 conference in Sweden
and the 2010 conference on PEI.
Anne is 100 and she has been busy traveling around the world. As I sat down
to lunch the first day of the conference in Charlottetown I was pleased to learn the woman next to me was from Northern Ireland
and a woman across the table was from South Africa.
from Japan, Yoshiko Akamatsu, shared images of the story as told through anime cartoons and I was impressed by the story adaptations
and the quality of the images of the characters and the images of the PEI landscape in the background. Later in the conference,
Francesca Montuschi explained that many children in Italy are introduced to Anne through the Japanese cartoons.
Kerrie Banks shared photos of the outback in Australia and related that the rolling green hills of PEI were very different
to their landscape. A highlight was hearing a teacher from Iran, Sami Gorgan Roodi, sharing how he uses the Anne
story in his classroom. His students plan plays and use simple hats (such as the straw hat with red braids or a boy’s
cap) over their headscarves for their costumes. The wide smiles of the
girls in the photos showed their enjoyment of this activity. Conference attendees were from eleven countries.
Imagining Anne, an exhibit at the Confederation
Centre Art Gallery, held another example of the travels of Anne. Anne of Green Gables can been read
in 36 languages and many of these international editions were on display. The first translation was into Swedish in 1909 and
other languages followed including Japanese, Korean, and Arabic. The images of Anne on the covers are as varied as the
an L.M. Montgomery Conference was held in Guelph, Ontario, and several of our members attended:Carolyn Collins, Mary Beth Cavert, Ann Johnson, and Emily and Christy Woster.
On the evening of October 23rd there was a special screening of two short films that reflected the themes
that L. M. Montgomery often wrote about.The films -- “I Know a Secret”,
based on a short story written by Montgomery and “Boys andGirls” adapted from an Alice Munro story -- were shown, followed by a panel discussion.
Friday the 24th we participated in a coach tour to Bala, Ontario, to visit the L. M. Montgomery Museum.When we arrived, we were greeted by Jack and Linda Hutton and were given a private tour of the Museum,
which they have so carefully restored.It was such fun to see all the Montgomery-related
artifacts they have filled the Museum with and all the early editions of Montgomery’s books they have on display. We
had a delicious lunch at a local restaurant and then walked around the grounds of the Rose Lawn Boarding House, now a private
residence. Jack and Linda are delightful hosts and we thank them for a memorable day!
On Friday afternoon, Bernard Katz (who is working on an
up-dated Montgomery bibliography) presented a program on the many editions of Anne
of Green Gables [A video of this talk can be viewed at http://www.lmmrc.ca/conference/proceedings.html].
Friday evening we attended the official opening of the exhibit “Searching for Home:
The Lives of L. M. Montgomery” at the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre.It
was an outstanding display, curated by Mary Rubio, with beautiful picture panels and many rare Montgomery artifacts, including
the original handwritten Rilla of Ingleside manuscript.
Saturday was the
day of the Conference, held at the Delta Guelph Hotel.We were welcomed by Alastair
Summerlee, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Guelph.Mike Ridley,
the University’s Chief Librarian, discussed the importance of the L. M. Montgomery archives.Helen Salmon, Associate Chief Librarian and Lorne Bruce, Head of Special Collections, discussed the launch
of the L. M. Montgomery Research Centre Website and their vision for making the archives more accessible to people around
Dr. Elizabeth Epperly discussed her work with
the archives and how it has shaped her as a writer and scholar. She also discussed the need to continue to be able to access
the archival materials directly, along with the digital images, as some things cannot be
seen or felt by just viewing it on the computer [To paraphrase Dr. Epperly, “If we could not see the actual journal
page where Maud writes about Frede’s death, we would not see the tear stains on it.”].
former Dean of the Faculty of Information and Media Studies at Western, discussed her findings from a survey of what people
chose to read and the importance of L. M. Montgomery in the lives of many of those who participated in the survey.
Liz Driver, Food
Historian gave a presentation on Montgomery’s personal recipe book and what it can reveal about the author. Elaine Crawford
[granddaughter of Myrtle Macneill and Ernest Webb from the Green Gables farm] gave a delightful talk about adapting Maud’s original handwritten cookbook (a gift from her aunt, Anita Webb) for publication
as Aunt Maud’sRecipe Book[Do not miss this excellent interview with Elaine:
Åsa Warnqvist, who is with the Department of Literature from Uppsala
University in Sweden, spoke about the 1909 publication of Anne of Green Gables
in Sweden.She also showed us some beautiful pictures of the Uppsala area, where
an L.M. Montgomery Conference will be held in 2009.Start saving your money,
it sounds wonderful!
Irene Gammel, Professor of English at Ryerson
University presented a paper entitled “There’s such a lot of different Annes in me: Putting Together the Fragments
of Life and Writing in Anne of Green Gables”.
Professor Emerita at the University of Guelph, gave a very informative presentation on the Rilla of Ingleside manuscript and explained the great care that Montgomery put into her writing -- always editing
until she had found the right phrase, word or name, and developing a complex coding system to complete her editing when writing
the final draft of her works.
The final speaker was Mary Rubio,
Professor Emerita at the University of Guelph.Dr. Rubio has spent much of her
academic career working on a biography about L. M. Montgomery and she explained the journey she has taken in writing the biography
“The Gift of Wings” (just published in October
2008). Dr. Rubio’s presentation was informative, moving and powerful as she discussed Montgomery’s complex
personality. Dr. Rubio had the foresight to interview many relatives, maids, and acquaintances of Maud before their special
insights were lost forever. Dr. Rubio’s moving presentation made for an emotional ending of an incredible day.
All of us who love L.
M. Montgomery and her writings owe a great debt of gratitude to Dr. Rubio and Dr. Waterston.Without them L. M. Montgomery would not have found her rightful place as an esteemed author.Due to their scholarship they have unlocked some of the mysteries of an incredible woman and author and
have blazed the trail for further research.So much of Montgomery’s story
and artifacts would have been lost if it were not for their dedicated work.
That evening Linda and
Jack Hutton treated us to a delightful performance of “Memories of Lucy Maud Montgomery”.Linda wrote and narrated a “script” for the 1919 silent film
Anne of Green Gables as Jack performed the music to the re-created magic lantern show. This was followed by a sumptuous
banquet and a presentation by Dr. Pamela Wallin, Chancellor of the University of Guelph.
On Sunday, we took part in a coach tour of Montgomery’s
Ontario homes. After tea and scones at the Leaskdale church, we were given a private tour of the Church and Manse that the
Leaskdale volunteers are so carefully restoring. We had a specially prepared lunch at a local restaurant then stopped at the
cemetery where Maud and Ewan’s son Hugh is buried. We traveled on to Norval and toured the Church with our host, Kathy
Gastle, and enjoyed viewing the outside of the Manse. We finished the day with a stop at Crawford’s Bakery where we
were able to try Maud’s Christmas cake and purchase some of their wonderful baked goods and jams.The L. M. Montgomery display there is just amazing, with many one-of-a-kind items. Both the Leaskdale and
Norval groups are doing an outstanding job in preserving such important L. M. Montgomery sites.We thank both groups for all that they are doing.
As you can see it was a very full weekend of all things L. M. Montgomery. We visited with
old friends, met many new kindred spirits and came away with a new appreciation for the wonder of Montgomery’s writing,
even though her own personal life was so often filled with darkness and despair.