Mary Rubio, a foremost authority on the life and works of Lucy Maud Montgomery, taught as a member of the SETS faculty from 1967 to 2002, and was made University Professor Emeritus in 2002. Her teaching background included American Literature, Canadian Literature, and Children’s Literature. Between 1974 and 2004, she and colleagues co-founded and co-edited the quarterly scholarly journal, Canadian Children’s Literature: a Journal of Criticism and Review / Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse. They also established the first Guelph courses in Children’s Literature, then a new field.
In the mid-1970s, Mary began her study of Lucy Maud Montgomery. She contacted Montgomery’s son, a medical doctor in Toronto, which led to Montgomery’s ten handwritten journals, Ontario scrapbooks, and personal picture collection coming to the U of Guelph Archives. These items joined Guelph's archival Scottish Collection, the largest collection of Scottish and Scottish-Canadian materials outside of Scotland. The extensive Montgomery Collection became the most consulted resource in the Archives.
The U of Guelph Archives’ extensive L. M. Montgomery Archival Collection includes the ten volumes of Montgomery's private journals and much other material. These journals touch on subjects which connect to most of the University of Guelph’s academic departments.
Between 1985 and 2004, with colleague Elizabeth Hillman Waterston, Mary co-edited five volumes of The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery (Oxford University Press: 1985, 1987, 1992, 1998, 2004). They wrote a short biography of Montgomery, Writing a Life: L. M. Montgomery (ECW Press, 1995). Together, they also co-edited The Norton Critical Edition of Anne of Green Gables (W.W. Norton, 2006, 400 pp).
In 2008, the centenary year of the first publication of Anne of Green Gables (1908), Mary published the comprehensive 684 page biography entitled, Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings (Random House, 2008). This biography was one of four short-listed books out of 162 nominated for Canada’s largest non-fiction prize ($40,000), the B. C. National Non-fiction Writers’ Prize. It was also listed by the Globe and Mail as one of the year’s best non-fiction books. It went into paperback in Spring 2010, and it is also available on-line.
Since the 1980s, Mary has worked with the “Lucy Maud Montgomery Heritage Society of Norval” and with the “Heritage Foundation of Halton Hills” (HFHH) as an Advisor/Consultant, to document Norval’s historical relationship with L. M. Montgomery and her husband, the Rev. Ewan Macdonald, who lived in Norval from 1926-1935. In 2017, the HFHH purchased their home, the Norval Presbyterian Manse, which is nestled in the beautiful Credit River Valley, just outside the Greater Toronto Area, an area Montgomery said that she loved as much as the landscape of her beloved PEI.
In the years since the University obtained the Montgomery journals and other memorabilia, Mary has been an active advocate and liaison, connecting the U of Guelph’s research and archival holdings with local and regional community stakeholders, nurturing innovative partnerships and projects.
Partnering with the University of Guelph, the “Lucy Maud Montgomery Heritage Society of Norval” plans to develop the Norval Presbyterian Manse as an Interactive Legacy Museum honouring Canada’s most famous international author and her Ontario years. The group plans to develop an adjacent Interpretative Centre in Norval, relating her life to this period of Canadian history.
A full list of Mary's extensive publications and research projects can be found in her CV below.