Nowadays, it’s possible for writers to throw literally every thought they have into the gaping maw of the internet. But historical author faves like the Brontë sisters or Jane Austen didn’t have the ability or desire to publicize every scrap of a short story or poem they were working on. It’s up to historians and collectors to then put these authors’ bodies of work together.
Now Lucy Maud Montgomery, whose Anne of Green Gable books continue to enchant readers, gets her due. She’s the subject of a historical archive that’s making much of her private work public for the first time ever.
Toward the end of the first Anne book, its protagonist Anne Shirley says, “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.” That line is the inspiration behind KindredSpaces, which is part of a larger collection housed at the University of Prince Edward Island’s L.M. Montgomery Institute. Included within the KindredSpaces archive are stories and poems that Montgomery wrote while a teacher on Prince Edward Island and alongside her Anne books, as well as extremely rare early drafts of said books. And, there’s even a little bit of non-fiction, in the form of Montgomery’s writing about being the wife of a minister.
The KindredSpaces collection will receive an extra boost of material in the form of memorabilia and personal correspondences from Montgomery herself. All of this comes together to provide a fuller picture behind a woman whose writing has transcended time, but whose total creative output still remains a mystery to many. We hope that other archives for other beloved authors can come together into the digital age as well, so that their stories and their lives can continue to inspire, educate, and entertain for years to come.