|Author Lucy Maud Montgomery|
Normally Mondays feature craft-centric blog posts, but I thought I’d change things up a bit today in order to wish Lucy Maud Montgomery a happy 141st birthday. Young girls for well over a hundred years now have Lucy to thank for many cherished hours spent reading about and bonding with Anne Shirley, the heroine she created in 1908 when she wrote Anne of Green Gables.
Anne is an eleven-year-old orphan mistakenly sent to live with the middle-age Cuthbert siblings after they requested a young boy to help them on their Prince Edward Island farm. Lucy based Anne and the story of her life on a similar event she remembered from her own childhood and infused the book with her many memories of growing up on Prince Edward Island.
You know a book has definitely stood the test of time when after 107 years children around the world are still reading it and both movies and television shows continue to be made from the book and its sequels. There have also been various stage adaptations over the years, include a musical.
More than 50 million copies of Anne of Green Gables have sold since the book was first published, and it’s been translated into 20 different languages. Anne of Green Gables became so popular that Lucy went on to write a series of sequels.
Here’s an interesting fact about Anne that I discovered—Montgomery based Anne’s looks on Evelyn Nesbitt. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Evelyn was the original Gibson girl. Her face and figure appeared nearly everywhere in the early part of the 20th century. Evelyn was America’s first celebrity, paving the way for the likes of Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. She was also indirectly responsible for what was called the Trial of the Century back in 1906 when her jealous millionaire husband Harry K. Thaw murdered her ex-lover, famed New York architect Stanford White.
It’s ironic that the scandalous Evelyn Nesbitt was the physical model for the sweet Anne Shirley, but as any author will tell you, when inspiration strikes, you run with it. Generations of young girls, myself included, are quite happy Evelyn had a hand in inspiring Lucy to create Anne.