2024 is L.M. Montgomery’s 150th birthday! The L.M. Montgomery Institute (LMMI) at the University of Prince Edward Island is celebrating with 150 tributes – celebratory statements or greetings – that reflect upon personal connections to Montgomery or on an aspect of her life, work, or legacy.

First Impressions
Title page of Anne of Green Gables. L.C. Page and Co., 1908. Ryrie-Campbell Collection, KindredSpaces.ca, 913 AGG-PG-1ST Green.


The first impression of Anne of Green Gables came off the press in 1908. First impressions of all sorts can be life changing, as these three tributes – from Julie Sellers, Yolanda Hood, and George Campbell – attest.


First impressions from Julie Sellers:

When I first met Anne Shirley, I felt as if her creator had seen into the future and observed me, a girl growing up on a farm near a small town in Kansas, as a model for her heroine. Although I knew that wasn’t the case, my love of books, dreams of writing, tendency for getting into scrapes because of my daydreams, and my love of nature paralleled Anne’s. My rural setting was similar, and I knew my own versions of Diana, Marilla, Matthew, and even Mrs. Lynde. With all her novels, Montgomery had a way of making me feel seen, understood, and among kindred spirits. Her command of language and ability to create with it inspired me also as a writer, as did her determination to succeed. L.M. Montgomery and her unforgettable heroines have shaped me as a reader, writer, and scholar since that first encounter with Anne.

Julie A. Sellers is the author of Ann of Sunflower Lane (Meadowlark Press, 2022) and Kindred Verse: Poems Inspired by Anne of Green Gables (Blue Cedar Press, 2021).


First impressions from Yolanda Hood:

Two authors have had a HUGE impact on the person that I am today, and L.M. Montgomery is one of them. I came across the Anne series in middle school after my grandmother, who raised me until then, had passed away. I connected so much with Anne, the island, and the people on it. The series gave me comfort in so many ways. I continued to read Montgomery’s works over the course of my life. I made the decision to move to PEI because of Montgomery. How many people can say that they have actually lived inside of their favourite books? Although I am no longer in PEI, I was blessed to have four years there, and I still call it home. I can’t put into enough words, really, what L.M. Montgomery has meant and still means to me.

Yolanda Hood is a librarian, young adult literature scholar, member of the L.M. Montgomery Management Committee, and forever fan.


First impressions from George Campbell:

My mother persuaded me to come back home to PEI from Alberta and we would try to start a tourism business in 1972. Some neighbors had asked me why I was doing this, as nobody reads Anne of Green Gables anymore and nobody knows anything about L.M. Montgomery. It wasn’t that I knew better, but in the following years, it seemed that everyone knew about Montgomery and Anne of Green Gables. I get to talk to people every day in the summer about their love of Anne of Green Gables. This is why they planned their trip to PEI.

Since coming back to PEI, I have been to Japan four times because of Anne of Green Gables. I found out that the novel is part of the Japanese culture. In 1985, Seibu, the largest department store in the world at that time, put on an L.M. Montgomery/Anne of Green Gables exhibition in their store as a public relations gesture to attract visitors to their store.

We have had many visitors from Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Poland, Iran, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Scotland, and of course Canada and United States. It has been an unbelievably wonderful experience that Maud has provide for my family and myself.

George Campbell and family are owner and operator of the Anne of Green Gables Museum in Park Corner. His great-grandparents were Maud’s aunt and uncle.


Next week we celebrate the launching of the L.M. Montgomery Institute in April 1993 with tributes from some of its founding and long-term members.