Lucy Maud Montgomery is a giant in the world of children’s fiction, much aligned in later times – but nevertheless, someone who created a series of children’s sagas that set the format for all later iterations (even Harry Potter, with its sequential progression through the protagonists’ life from childhood to near-adult can be said to owe a debt to the adventures of Anne of Green Gables!).
There are, of course, other reasons too why L. M. Montgomery is eminently collectible. At a time when women had some independence but still had to marry to be in the least bit respectable, Lucy Maud managed to create for herself a powerful brand, and raise her own money by her own efforts – no mean feat in a world that thought at the time that the only jobs a woman could do would be cleaning, factory work, or secretarial school!
The most famous of her sagas are, of course the nine Anne of Green Gables bookspublished by L.C. Page, 1908. However, there are also other sagas worth considering from this pen: Emily of New Moon, and Pat of Silver Bush. All three are placed on the author’s home of Prince Edward Island, with Emily of New Moon perhaps the closest to Anne, and Pat of Silver Bush starting to travel in a different, slightly more adventurous direction with the depiction of an unsettled social life and a resilient heroine (the eponymous Pat).
As ever when collecting, the personal stories of the author gets entangled with the provenance of the books – and in Montgomery’s case this is the long-running legal battle that she had with her unscrupulous, and quite frankly controlling author L.C. Page. Today, there can be found many copies of a good first edition of Anne of Green Gables, but a true first presentation copy is much rarer, and much more expensive. A signed Anne of Green Gables (1908) would be worth thousands of US dollars, and a true first signed, in a very good condition with its original slipcase worth over ten thousand. Given the high demand, consider then some of the lesser-known works, such as Jane of Lantern Hill (McClelland and Stuart, Toronto 1937) or Story Girl (L.C. Page 1911), both of which can be found in fine or near-fine condition for around $750.
Montgomery, L.M. Anne of Green Gables. L. C. Page , Boston (1908). 8 sepia toned illustrations by M.A. and W.A.J. Claus;
Montgomery, L.M. The Story Girl. L. C. Page , Boston (1911). Frontis and front cover pastedown color illustrations by George Gibbs;
Montgomery, L.M. Chronicles of Avonlea. L.C. Page , Boston (1912). First Issue point of the Training of Felix appearing on title page but replaced with Each in His Own Tongue in table of contents and text; With frontispiece ver in colour by George Gibbs;
Montgomery, L.M. The Golden Road. L. C. Page , Boston (1913). Colour frontispiece by George Gibbs;
Montgomery, L.M. Anne of the Island. The Page, Boston (1915). Frontispiece illustrated by H. Weston Taylor;
Montgomery, L.M. Rainbow Valley. Frederick A. Stokes, New York (1919). Colour frontispiece by M. L. Kirk. Green cloth hardcover with pasted-on illustration;
Montgomery, L.M. Further Chronicles of Avonlea. The Page, Boston (1920). Illustrated by John Goss; This collection of short stories, sequel to Chronicles of Avonlea, explores the fictional Canadian village of Avonlea and its region, located on Prince Edward Island, and includes appearances by Anne Shirley, the titular heroine of Montgomery's first book, Anne of Green Gables;
Montgomery, L.M. Emily Climbs. Frederick A. Stokes Co, New York (1925). color frontispiece by M.L. Kirk;
Montgomery, L.M. Emily's Quest. Frederick A. Stokes, New York (1927). tissue guarded color frontis by Maria Kirk ;
Montgomery, L.M. Courageous Women. McClelland and Stewart, Toronto (1934). Twenty-one essays about notable women, including Laura Secord, Catharine Parr Traill, Helen Keller, Pauline Johnson, Edith Cavell, Marshall Saunders, and others. Maud Montgomery wrote about three women: Mary Slessor of Calabar, Joan of Arc, and Florence Nightingale;