10 Facts You May Not Have Known about Anne of Green Gables (and L.M. Montgomery)

by Kirsti Granholm

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery was first released in 1908. The series went on to become one of Canada’s most world renown children’s books ever to be published. With eight books in the series, the saga shaped Montgomery into one of the most successful writers of her generation. The Anne of Green Gables series is still loved by adults and children alike all over the world.

Here are some interesting facts about Anne and the life of L.M. Montgomery:

    • Anne of Green Gables sold 19,000 copies within the first month and was reprinted 10 times in its first year. One year after the book was released, it had already reached international status; being translated into Swedish in 1909.


    • Anne of Green Gables lead to some hefty legal disputes between Montgomery and her publisher L.C. Page. Montgomery was not subject to profits from her early books, causing quite the dispute between the two. Today, Montgomery’s profits are split between her heir’s and Prince Edward Island, through the Anne of Green Gables Licensing Authority Inc.


    • In 1965 in Charlottetown, PEI, Anne of Green Gables: The Musical premiered for the very first time. The production is still running today, making it the Guinness World Record holder of the “longest running annual musical theatre production.” The 2019 production will be running until September 28, 2019.


    • Montgomery used a variety of pen names to conceal her gender. She used Maud Cavendish and Joyce Cavendish. Soon she found major success and decided to abbreviate her own name; L.M. Montgomery. After Anne of Green Gables was published, there was no turning back for Montgomery.


    • Montgomery suffered with mental health issues, but she rarely, if ever, mentioned it herself. In 2008, Montgomery’s granddaughter came out and said that her grandmother’s death was actually a suicide; looking to bring awareness to the subject. This was a secret kept from Montgomery’s fans across the world, for over 100 years, although some critics still remain skeptical of this claim.


    • M. Montgomery kept her personal business to herself, especially when it came to romance. She secretly became engaged to Edwin Simpson in 1897, but soon fell in love with another man named Hermann Leard. The affair ended after Leard died, and Montgomery once again was secretly engaged to a Presbyterian minister named Ewen Macdonald.Since 1952, Anne of Green Gables has been a part of Japan’s curriculum to teach English to young Japanese students. Prince Edward Island’s Anne Quick Facts article states that “In 1939, when New Brunswick missionary, Miss Shaw, left Japan, she gave to her friend Hanako Muraoka her prized copy of Anne of Green Gables. Secretly, the respected Japanese translator rendered Montgomery’s text into Japanese, “Akage No Anne” (Anne of the Red Hair). When the Second World War ended and officials were looking for uplifting Western literature for the schools, Muraoka brought out her translation of Anne. Ever since, Anne has been a part of Japanese culture, with her exotic red hair and comic outspokenness.” (Anne Quick Facts)


  • Montgomery became much more than just a writer to Canada; she was highly recognized by the government and scholars around the world. She was the first Canadian women to be made a member of the British Royal Society of Art in 1923. In 1935, Montgomery was named to the Order of the British Empire and the Literary and Artistic Institute of France. A year after her death in 1943 Montgomery was named a Person of National Historic Significance by the Canadian government. Since then, her work has continued to be celebrated across the nation.


    • Anne of Green Gables has been adapted into film many times since it was first published. The first film rendition was in 1919, which was a silent film directed by William Desmond Taylor. Since then, many movies and television shows have been inspired by Anne, a few including Kevin Sullivan’s Anne of Green Gables (1985), the CBC’s popular television show, Road to Avonlea (1990-96), M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars (2017) and the most recent, Anne with an E (2017).


  • In Prince Edward Island, there is the L.M. Montgomery Institute (LMMI) at the University of Prince Edward Island. The institute is dedicated to studying Montgomery and her beloved works of literature. It was first formed in 1993 and since then has grown to reach and inspire Montgomery’s fans across the entire world. Every single year they host competitions, conferences, and feature exceptional international visiting scholars. The LMMI continues to spread the admiration of Montgomery and her timeless works, for people from all parts of the globe to enjoy.