Anne of Green Gables: 7 facts about L.M. Montgomery and her iconic character

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Lucy Maud Montgomery, the Canadian author of Anne of Green Gables, was born on Nov. 30, 1874.

Anne of Green Gables is a 1908 novel by Montgomery which has seen several screen adaptations around the world.

Arguably, the most popular TV version is the 1985 version starring Megan Follows as Anne. YTV just recently released its own version, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables.

READ MORE: ‘Anne With an ‘E’: Netflix renames Canadian classic

The most recent adaptation is the CBC and Netflix co-production of Anne, which was released on the U.S. streaming service on May 12.

Montgomery published 20 novels, over 500 short stories, 30 essays, an autobiography and a book of poetry. Many of them are still read around the world.

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Anne of Green Gables has been translated into 25 languages and the historic site of Prince Edward Island National Park, which is technically Anne’s birth place, sees over 125,000 visitors each year.

Anne is not just a character but also a symbol of courage and optimism. She’s appeared in many languages in movies, cartoons, plays and musicals.

READ MORE: ‘Anne of Green Gables’ TV movie back for Part 2, and Anne has grown up

The series has gained countless loyal fans in the over 100 years since the initial novel’s publication.

Here are 7 facts about the author and her iconic character that many might not know.

1. ‘Anne of Green Gables’ is a registered trademark

The term “Anne of Green Gables” is currently a registered trademark, owned jointly by the province of Prince Edward Island and the heirs of L.M. Montgomery.

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Producers of Anne-related products outside of P.E.I. pay a royalty to the family while island producers make Anne items royalty-free, according to the Tourism PEI website.

2. Montgomery insisted on being Maud without an ‘e’

The author was very particular about the spelling of names. She was named Lucy after her grandmother and Maud after Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Alice Maud Mary.

She wrote in her journal, “I never liked Lucy as a name. I always liked Maud — spelled not ‘with an e’ if you please.”

3. She got the idea for Anne from an old journal

Montgomery was going through a journal and found an entry written a decade before. It said, “Elderly couple apply to orphan asylum for a boy. By mistake a girl is sent to them.”

She then began to write a story about a red-headed orphan, intending to submit it as a seven-chapter serial for a newspaper. Instead, Anne took on a life of her own and Montgomery found herself writing a novel.

4. Montgomery almost gave up when the novel was rejected

Montgomery sent out Anne of Green Gables to several publishers in 1905, all of which rejected the book.

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She became discouraged and stuck the book in a hatbox. Two years later, she came across the novel, polished it up and sent it out again.

L.C. Page & Company in Boston agreed to publish the novel. Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908 and was an instant bestseller, selling 19,000 copies in its first five months.

5. She didn’t always want to write Anne sequels

The author’s contract for Anne of Green Gables locked her into writing sequels if the book sold well. She didn’t like the idea, writing in a letter: “I’m awfully afraid if thing takes, they’ll want me to write her through college. The idea makes me sick.”

READ MORE: ‘Anne of Green Gables’ TV movie: Meet the newest Anne and Marilla

The book did take off and between 1908 and 1921, Montgomery wrote six Anne books.

After finishing Rilla of Ingleside, she said: “I am done with Anne forever — I swear it as a dark and deadly vow. I want to create a new heroine now — she’s already an embryo in my mind… Her name is Emily.”

After three Emily books (Emily of New MoonEmily Climbs and Emily’s Quest), Montgomery returned to write about Anne. She wrote Anne of Windy Poplars in 1936 and Anne of Ingleside in 1939.

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6. Montgomery became part of the school curriculum in Japan in 1952

In 1939, a New Brunswick missionary named Miss Shaw, left Japan and gave her friend Hanako Muraoka her prized copy of Anne of Green Gables.

Muraoko, a Japanese translator, rendered Montgomery’s text into Japanese, Akage No Anne (Anne of the Red Hair). When the Second World War ended, officials were looking for uplifting Western literature for schools and Muraoka brought out her translation of Anne of Green Gables.

READ MORE: Martin Sheen drawn to ‘strong family message’ of ‘Anne of Green Gables’

Ever since that moment, Anne has been a part of Japanese culture. Today in Japan, schools still teach young girls how to speak English with a distinct Prince Edward Island accent all because they want to sound like Anne of Green Gables.

There is an Anne Academy in Japan and there are many national fan clubs.

7. A first edition Anne of Green Gables sold for US$37,500

A first edition of the Canadian classic novel was sold by Sotheby’s New York in Decemeber 2009 for US$37,500 at a live auction.

The novel by Montgomery originally retailed for $1.50.

— With files from Chris Jancelewicz

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