L.M. Montgomery Collection Goes Digital

October 20, 2008 - News Release

Lucy Maud has gone digital! The University of Guelph's renowned L.M. Montgomery memorabilia collection - the largest and most comprehensive in Canada - is now accessible to scholars and fans around the world via the Internet.

The U of G collection includes the famous author's handwritten journals, scrapbooks, handiwork, photo albums, legal and business papers, letters, and original typescripts of some of her works, including Rilla of Ingleside. Montgomery wrote 22 novels during her lifetime and kept extensive journals from the time she was 14.

Previously, people wanting to view the collection had to do so in person. "Each year, many researchers, students, faculty and members of the public travel to Guelph to look at and use the holdings in our collection,” said Lorne Bruce, head of archival and special collections.

“This year alone, in addition to people from across Canada, we've had visitors from Japan, Sweden, the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy."

But now much of the collection has been digitized and is available online through the new L.M. Montgomery Research Centre website and the "Our Ontario" gateway, which is sponsored by the Ontario government. It provides one-stop access to the digital collections of libraries, archives, museums, historical societies, community groups, government agencies, and private collections in Ontario and across Canada.

OurOntario represents a collaboration of libraries, cultural heritage organizations and educational institutions seeking to digitize and provide unified access to their rare and special collections, said Helen Salmon, associate chief librarian.

"It provides a way for everyone to contribute to and be able to explore the richness of Ontario culture and history," she said.

"Inclusion of the L.M. Montgomery collection in this larger forum will be a powerful way to promote awareness of and international visibility for this author’s life in the province and of her contributions to Canadian literature and popular culture."

Over the years, researchers have used the Guelph collection to explore and document just about everything about Montgomery's life, from her challenges and successes to how her writings have shaped the development of girls and young women in Canada and abroad during the past 100 years.

Already, the digital collection includes more than 1,200 photographs stored in a searchable online database. There are plans to expand this digital archive with other original Montgomery documents.

"This collection is not only fascinating but also provides a seemingly inexhaustible source for generating new ideas about her life and works," Bruce said.

Guelph's L.M. Montgomery collecton will be the focus of an international conference the University is hosting this week to celebrate Montgomery's life and her influence on Canada and the world. Running Oct. 23 to 25, “From Canada to the World: the Cultural Influence of Lucy Maud Montgomery” will bring some of this country's foremost Montgomery scholars and biographers to campus. The conference will feature a unique combination of lectures, performances, films, music, tours and exhibitions.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338/l.hunt@exec.uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982/d.healey@exec.uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1