Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

January 13, 2000

U of G library gains 'lost' L.M. Montgomery treasure

The University of Guelph's McLaughlin Library has added a "missing" piece of history to its L.M. Montgomery Collection in Archival and Special Collections.

On Jan. 19, U of G will officially recognize the donation of the Rilla of Ingleside holograph from Emily and Murray Woods. The manuscript, believed to have been lost for decades, was in Emily Woods's possession for some 30 years. It is also the only original full-length holograph of a Montgomery novel accessible in Ontario, where she wrote most of her books. The other known manuscripts are housed in the Confederation Centre and Museum in P.E.I., where Montgomery was born and raised. The author of 20 novels and 500 short stories, she moved to Ontario after marrying Presbyterian minister Ewan Macdonald in 1911.

The manuscript will be kept in the rare book vault in the Archival and Special Collections area and is now on display in its Wellington County Room. "It gives us great pleasure to turn it over to the University of Guelph, where it will be safe and join the rest of the collection, and provide opportunities for study and research," said Woods.

Published in 1921, Rilla of Ingleside was planned as the last in the Anne of Green Gables series. It is a First World War story written from a young woman's point of view and has been recognized by historians and women's studies experts for its uniqueness in Canadian literature.

"It is the first English account from a woman's perspective of how people Ďat home' reacted to the war," said Bernard Katz, head of special collections and library development. "It poignantly shows how women reacted to having their husbands, sons, brothers and sweethearts away in Europe fighting under terrible conditions."

Woods acquired the manuscript from a member of the Macdonald family as a gift when she was a creative writing teacher. "It was a thrill to actually have it in my hands," she said. "My students were also very excited. Most of them had read the Anne books and were thrilled to have a chance to see her actual handwriting."

Woods says her family chose to donate the manuscript to U of G because of their connections to the University. Her husband, Murray, is a 1956 OAC graduate. Their son Douglas graduated in 1978, and their nephew Bill Woods graduated in 1973. Bill's daughter and nephew are currently enrolled.

U of G's collection includes Montgomery's journals, scrapbooks, memorabilia, photo albums, negatives, personal library, foreign editions of her novels, genealogical files, legal and business papers and her Order of the British Empire medal, as well as original typescripts of some of her stories.

This month, the library is also housing a special exhibit called "The Visual Imagination of Lucy Maud Montgomery." It includes 156 prints chosen from more than 2,000 photographs from the library's collection by Prof. Elizabeth Epperley, University of P.E.I. for an exhibition organized and circulated by the Confederation Centre Art Gallery and Museum in Charlottetown, with support from the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Contact: Bernard Katz, Head, Special Collections and Library Development (519) 824-4120, Ext. 2089

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3338.

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