Death and Legacy
Montgomery died on April 24, 1942. A note was found beside her bed, reading, in part, "I have lost my mind by spells and I do not dare think what I may do in those spells. May God forgive me and I hope everyone else will forgive me even if they cannot understand. My position is too awful to endure and nobody realizes it. What an end to a life in which I tried always to do my best."
It was reported that Montgomery died from coronary thrombosis in Toronto. However, it was revealed by her granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler, in September 2008 that Montgomery suffered from depression – possibly as a result of caring for her mentally ill husband for decades – and may have taken her own life via a drug overdose. But, there is another point of view. According to Mary Rubio, who wrote a biography of Montgomery Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings (2008), the message was intended to be a journal entry rather than a suicide note.
She was buried at the Cavendish Community Cemetery in Cavendish following her wake in the Green Gables farmhouse and funeral in the local Presbyterian church.
During her lifetime, Montgomery published 20 novels, over 500 short stories, an autobiography, and a book of poetry. Aware of her fame, by 1920 Montgomery began editing and recopying her journals, presenting her life as she wanted it remembered. In doing so certain episodes were changed or omitted. Her major collections are archived at the University of Guelph, while the L.M. Montgomery Institute at the University of Prince Edward Island coordinates most of the research and conferences surrounding her work. The first biography of Montgomery was The Wheel of Things: A Biography of L.M. Montgomery, (1975) written by Mollie Gillen. Dr. Gillen also discovered over 40 of Montgomery's letters to her pen-friend George Boyd MacMillan in Scotland and used them as the basis for her work. Beginning in the 1980s, her complete journals, edited by Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston, were published by the Oxford University Press. From 1988–95, editor Rea Wilmshurst collected and published numerous short stories by Montgomery.
Despite the fact that Montgomery published over twenty books, "she never felt she achieved her one 'great' book." Her readership, however, has always found her characters and stories to be among the best in fiction. Mark Twain said Montgomery’s Anne was “the dearest and most moving and delightful child since the immortal Alice". Montgomery was honoured by being the first female in Canada to be named a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in England and by being invested in the Order of the British Empire in 1935.
Her fame was not limited to Canadian audiences. Anne of Green Gables became a success worldwide. For example, every year, thousands of Japanese tourists "make a pilgrimage to a green-gabled Victorian farmhouse in the town of Cavendish on Prince Edward Island...." A national park was established near Mongomery's home in Cavendish in honour of her works.
Montgomery's home of Leaskdale Manse in Ontario and the area surrounding Green Gables and her Cavendish home in Prince Edward Island have both been designated National Historic Sites of Canada. Montgomery herself was designated a Person of National Historic Significance by the Government of Canada in 1943.
Her life's work does not only live on in print but in movies, television shows and cartoons that have become enduring favorites to fans who have never even read a word she has written.
On 15 May 1975 Canada Post issued 'Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables' designed by Peter Swan and typographed by Bernard N.J. Reilander. The 8¢ stamps are perforated 13 and were printed by Ashton-Potter Limited.
Read more about this topic: Lucy Maud Montgomery, Writing Career, Romantic Interests, and Family Life
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